Will rising tensions in the Middle East lead to another catastrophic war?

Written by Camille Alexandre Otrakji

Syrian President Bashar Assad warned on Sunday “the prospects of war and confrontation are increasing”. The President was marking the 65th anniversary of the creation of the Syrian army.

“Syria reiterates its willingness in the just peace and consolidating bases of security and stability in this vital region of the world … and this will not be realized except by the restoration of the whole usurped rights according to the relevant international resolutions … the first factor of peace is preserving dignity, sovereignty and not abandoning any bit of soil or drop of water”

Relevant international resolutions, dignity and sovereignty were at stake today as Lebanese and Israeli troops exchanged fire after Israeli soldiers used a crane to remove a tree on the Lebanese side of the border between the two countries in an apparent violation of UN resolution 1701. Israel claimed that the tree was on the Israeli side of the border and that this is not he first time its soldiers uprooted trees along the border in order to improve visibility and accused Lebanon of provoking the fight. Lebanon said the Israelis crossed onto Lebanese soil despite calls from the U.N. and Lebanon to stop. When the Israelis persisted, Lebanese troops opened fire with small arms and rocket-propelled grenades.

The Associated Press later published a photo showing Israeli soldiers removing a tree on the Lebanese side of a security fence along the border.

Later today, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah explained why his fighters were asked to refrain from helping Lebanese army soldiers while they were attacked by Israel’s helicopters, tanks and artillery. Nasrallah told his audience that he knew that had he decided to get involved, some people would have accused him of being a tool in the hands of President Assad who warned on Sunday that the region is going to war, or that they would have accused Hezbollah of trying to escalate the military conflict in order to escape the rumored indictment of Hezballah members in the Hariri tribunal, or accuse the Lebanese resistance of trying to outshine the regular Lebanese army.

Nasrallah later made it clear that next time there is an Israeli attack on the Lebanese army, where his fighters have a presence, he promises that “the resistance will not stay quiet” no matter how others will interpret their involvement.

If the next routine Israeli violation of Lebanese sovereignty does not flare into a full fledged war,  the Hariri assassination’s UN backed tribunal can provide another clear path to war.

For years Syria was portrayed as the prime suspect behind the Hariri assassination. The accusations were part of an intense, long term, campaign by the Bush administration, Israel, Saudi Arabia, France, and other countries to discredit, weaken and isolate Syria.

Recently, those accusations are shifting to Hezbollah. Syrian and Saudi leaders feared that Lebanon’s fragile national unity might not survive the rumored mention of Hezbollah by the UN tribunal and the anticipated escalation in international pressure to dismantle or punish Hezbollah, the kind of pressure that Syria knows so well.

President Assad and King Abdullah, leaders of the two most influential countries in Lebanon, tried during a historical visit to Beirut to ask their Lebanese allies to stay calm no matter what they read in the upcoming UN report.

If the rumors blaming Hezbollah for the Hariri murder did not introduce enough uncertainty, today, Hezbollah Chief Hassan Nasrallah accused Israel of the 2005 assassination.

“I accuse the Israeli enemy of the assassination of (former) Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and … I will prove this by unveiling sensitive information at a press conference on Monday”

Earlier last week President Obama made it clear the United States should not be expected to play a constructive role in deescalating tensions in the region. He announced he is renewing a Bush administration measure to freeze the assets of persons who work with Hezbollah militants and “infringe upon” Lebanese stability.

“While there have been some recent positive developments in the Syrian-Lebanese relationship, continuing arms transfers to Hezbollah that include increasingly sophisticated weapons systems serve to undermine Lebanese sovereignty,” Obama said in his message to Congress.

TIME Magazine senior Editor Tony Karon warned:

“The danger posed by the lack of communication channels between the resistance camp and the Israelis explains why British Prime Minister Cameron, a recent guest at the White House, last week went to Ankara to urge Turkey to maintain its ties with Israel and use its ties to the likes of Syria to facilitate communication that could mitigate an outbreak. Turkey has been pilloried in some quarters in the West — and certainly in Israel — for its diplomatic rapprochement with Syria, Iran and Hamas, but Cameron’s appeal was a tacit admission that the continuing Bush-era policy of refusing to engage with the region’s designated radicals has sharply diminished the ability of the U.S. and the European Union to influence events in the Middle East.”

America’s Arab allies are among those disappointed by Washington’s continued hostility towards Syria. Tariq Alhomayed, editor of Saudi Arabia’s largest and most liberal newspaper, Asharq Alawsat wrote an opinion piece yesterday in which he expressed his bewilderment :

“… on the eve of the Saudi monarch’s visit to Syria a US State Department spokesman issued a strange and provocative statement, calling on the Syrian President to listen carefully to what King Abdullah has to say about the Syrian – Iranian relationship. In Damascus, a Saudi official [commenting on this] told me “can this be true…what does Washington want?”

Meanwhile in Israel, Prime Minister Netanyahu warned that pushing Israel to extend the freeze on its settlement activities in the west bank will lead to the collapse of his coalition government. If  Mr. Netanyahu feels that an extension of a freeze, and not the dismantling, of those settlements is enough to destroy his government, then what exactly is he prepared to offer the Palestinians or Syrians in any upcoming peace negotiations that everyone is trying to start?

Given this unprecedented degree of Israeli “generosity” and American paralysis, will the next Middle East conflict erupt when Israeli troops decide to cut down the next tree in southern Lebanon?

Comments (349)

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301. Husam said:


I have not written directly to you before. Salams! The majority of commentators here look up to Elie for his contribution to SC. He has seniority and has earned mastery in stating lies, distortions, and half-truths about Islam and making them seem believable (I am sure you have read my many previous comments about this). No one has the time, nor the interests anymore than we already have to enveal his distortions. I wish I did, but I don’t.

His tactics are similar to AP but with AP, the audience is more knowledgeable and interested in the M.E. than with Islam. So the tide is against AP in this forum. That is why most of the time AP doesn’t stand a chance. Elie wouldn’t stand a chance on an Islamic forum, and he knows it. If he did, he would be brave enough to walk into the new Mosque in NY and ask for a debate in public, or at the very least online.

Ramadan Moubarak to you!

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August 18th, 2010, 11:55 am


302. Husam said:

sorry for the typo… I meant enveil his distortions… (not enveal).

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August 18th, 2010, 11:57 am


303. majedkhaldoun said:

El Hadj says Islam order cutting the legs of a theif, It is another LIE
He encourage Adultary, is this what good ethic in your mind,adultary and steeling is not ethical in all religion and non religous people except in your mind ,you make me sick

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August 18th, 2010, 11:57 am


304. Husam said:


Just because some Jews have declared or interpreted others as sub-humans doesn’t not mean it is ok for Islam to be the same. It is better to hit the nail on the head. Elie is not looking for answers that is why he is here.

However, I understand your point regarding the similarities with AP and Elie. I felt the same way.


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August 18th, 2010, 12:01 pm


305. Akbar Palace said:

Those Racist Jews; We Tolerant Muslims

…some Jews have declared or interpreted others as sub-humans…


Which Jews do you know “have declared or interpreted others as sub-humans”?

See if you can find as many examples as the one below, and then we can compare and contrast them…

(Shai, maybe you can help Husam.)


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August 18th, 2010, 12:10 pm


306. Ghat Al Bird said:


Appreciate your comment above. The two you mentioned are alike a fellow American who on a trip to Cairo, Egypt some years ago kept asking one of our tour guides how long it took to build structures that the guide pointed out to the group. The guide whose living depended on guiding tourists answered as best as he could as to the length of time it took to build several of the buildings.

After a half hour or so on having to answer such questions, the fellow tourist asked how long it took to build a 10 or 12 storey building that we had just gone by. The guide who along with most of the group had had enough replied in Americanese…”Gee we passed by here yesterday and that building was not here.” Needless to say that that was greeted with much laughter.

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August 18th, 2010, 12:47 pm


307. Elie Elhadj said:

For perfect accuracy I have added the word “frequent” before the word “theft” in:

Third,… Will you be preaching that the penalty for repeated theft is amputation of hands or feet and for theft with homicide is execution by the sword followed by crucifixion…


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August 18th, 2010, 2:11 pm


308. Alex said:

IDAF and Norman,

That is right, both of you, in addition to Ausamaa (remember him?), rejected the “Syria, and only Syria, could have killed Hariri” conviction of everyone else.

Remember why they were all sure?

1) First, because the bomb was under ground and only Syrian intelligence could have planted it there!

Later they found out there was no under ground bomb, but no one cared to remember what they were convinced of initially.

2) Hariri was supposedly wearing a secret hi-tech pen that recorded proof that Assad (during a meeting) told him he will kill him if he did not do as Assad wants …

Then when no such pen existed in reality, … no one cared to remember.

3) Then “Syria was implicated” by Mehlis’ first report … all based on testimony of two false witnesses.

And still, everyone wanted to still believe it.

Husam, Majedkhaldoon

Please let the readers decide if Dr. Elhadj, or you have the accurate version of everything. Please either ignore what he writes or provide your corrections without writing “you are a liar”

I am working on a site that will be focusing on debating Islam related issues and authors from all points of view will be invited to contribute.


Argeeleh (water pipe) is much more harmful than Cigarette smoking. I wish they would not allow it back in all Cafes, and instead they would give permits to a limited number of cafes to have a small section that is isolated from the rest of the place where customers who insist to smoke can do so.

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August 18th, 2010, 2:50 pm


309. majedkhaldoun said:

Happy Ramadan to you too

Do you remember Madoff,He stole billions , three people commit suicide ,many became very poor ask those victims if Madoff sentence is appropriate.

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August 18th, 2010, 4:02 pm


310. Nour said:


I think many coffee shops were complaining about losing a lot of business because smoking was banned altogether. I agree with Alex though; I think in order to be allowed to serve arakeel, coffee shops should obtain special permits, as is the case here in the US.

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August 18th, 2010, 4:50 pm


311. Husam said:


In reference to our last exchange, thank you for your candid response and insight. I understand what you mean about how someone can have an agenda/theory and sets out to prove a point, and as result ends up misrepresenting the information, or leaves out certain important data that can change the whole picture. Elie, does that many times with Islam. My thinking, is cui bono and what is the motive of those doctors that are pointing out these information…I mean they are not selling us anything else unlike the others who are working for the drug companies, they are unfunded. You say, pro-life Christians, true, some are probably Christians, but that alone is not totally convincing for me.

Can you tell me why do you think there is/was Mercury in flu shots at alarming rates over what was approved by th EPA? And what of thousands of other scientist and medical doctors whom are against this, can they be fools too, aren‘t they qualified?

Do you buy the Mechiavellian Pharma Theory? I mean it certainly is plausible, money is a dirty thing. Shiv Chopra, an official with Health Canada was fired (I watched part of the proceedings, this is true) for whistle blowing Monsanto for testifying that they tried to bribe him (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monsanto), I mean this sort of stuff happens all the time.

What about the scientific correlation between Mercury levels and morpholility and mobility of the sperm (choy, et al)? Are you saying that this data is tampered with?

Why did the WHO continue to support the use of Thimerosal?

You see no issue with the following statement by the father of Hell, who has pumped more money into Vaccinations than anyone:

“By its very nature, population is a
continuing concern and should receive
continuing attention. Later generations, and
later commissions, will be able to see the
right path further into the future. In any
case, no generation needs to know the
ultimate goal or the final means, only the
direction in which they will be found.”
J.D. Rockerfeller

How can you trust such a person or any organization with which he creates, controls or funds directly or indirectly!?

What about The National Security Memo:

“The US to collaborate with other countries in researching human reproduction and fertility control….”The term itself “fertility control” to me is disgusting. No one should control anyone’s else’s body, if you want to make family planning an issue, you have to go through the front door via education and personal choice.

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August 18th, 2010, 5:17 pm


312. Husam said:

Alex @ 307:

Since our last exchange, I have not called anyone a liar. Please refraining from “groupings” unless true and warranted.

Alex: You did not acknowledge comment @265 regarding whom you will strike off and when you will intervene. Do I have your assurance that you will try your best, at least, to be fair?


We all know how many people sit in jail in the US for all sorts of crimes from rape and theft to murder and everything in between.

The most developed secular countries in the world (North America, Europe) have the top ten crime rate in the world!


While Asia despite its poverty, lack of prowess and power is the lowest. I heard that till this day the only place where the majority of stores remaining unlocked and unprotected during Friday prayers or afternoon siesta is Saudia Arabia.

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August 18th, 2010, 5:31 pm


313. Husam said:

My last comment @ 310 was intended for OTW, and not Jad. Sorry for the confusion.

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August 18th, 2010, 5:39 pm


314. Norman said:

I do not know why would anybody discuss what Islam says or for that case what Christianity or Judaism says , what is important is not what religions say but how we use our religions to live our lives and abide by the laws of the land ,

By the way , as i am not familiar with what is in the Koran or the old testament for that matter , does anybody know how i can find the Koran in Arabic or English on CD so i can listen to it in my can and then make informed comments , you all might want to wait until i am done so i can enlighten you all ,LOL ,

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August 18th, 2010, 10:21 pm


315. Husam said:

Hi Norman:

Perhaps you can enlighten us by the time Alex launches the site he is working on which supposedly focuses on religion….

You have 4 options:

1) If you would like, I got a few copies and I can send you a CD in Arabic or in English (if you are fluent in Arabic, better in Arabic) to your P.O Box. 🙂

2) If you prefer to get it yourself and have used eBay or Paypal before, here is the link:


3) If you live in metropolitan city, just Google: “Islamic Library” and your city name, or “Islamic Bookstore” and the name of your city. The results should show something nearby.

4) Walk into any major mosque in your area around 12:30 PM before Friday prayers and you should have a bookstore in there where you will find many CDs.

I like the ones on eBay because the compilation is on one single CD for like $5-10 bucks shipped. If you would like me to ship it to you, please forward your mailing address to my email address programm_it@yahoo.com

Please specify English or Arabic, MP3 or regular CD.


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August 18th, 2010, 10:41 pm


316. Norman said:

Husam ,
Thank you ,

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August 18th, 2010, 11:18 pm


317. Off the Wall said:

Dear Husam
Since the presentation misrepresented intentionally some of the facts, I can not trust the rest. You know the story, once liar …. Therefore, to answer your question about mercury, I will have to do my independent review, which may involve obtaining and reading quite few epidemiological and toxicological papers. And while I am little familiar with epidemiology from a couple of policy courses I took a while back, and with its statistical analysis from the rest of my career, I am not at all knowledgeable enough in Chemistry and in toxicology. This will take time that I am afraid now that I do not have. But how about we make a deal, I promise you to do so at the earliest possible opportunity by obtaining and reading for myself some of the epidemiological studies mentioned in the power point, provided that they are published in legitimate journals, And you simply be patient with me on that.

That said, Monsanto has been on my crookdar (crook radar) for few years now. I have even posted a story about their practices in India, which in fact is polluting native and local seed stocks by planting their fields near other farmers and then suing the farmers for patent infringement due to cross pollination. Monsanto’s practices are probably responsible for increased suicide rates in rural India and there is a big social justice movement developing to thwart their attempt to completely eradicate local seed stock. They have resorted to bribes in many country to enact legislations that permit their genetically enhanced stock into the marked despite of grass root movement. I do not have a lot of time to find and post links now, but again, I will try my best to do so in the future. I am in fact interested in finding if Monsanto has penetrated Arab agriculture. Do you have information on that? I would be very interested.

Norman, your scientific input is desperately sought here please commentBack to Mercury and large scale immunization programs. On this one, I would like to draw on Norman’s expertise in drawing an analogy with oncology. When the disease is life-threatening, the doctor and patient must balance the toxic effect of drastic treatment, which work by killing cells, hoping that it will kill malignant cells before the cumulative effects on healthy cells kills the patient. As I understand it, much of the research in finding better treatment goes into improving the selective targeting of malignant cells while leaving healthy cells alone (Norman, am I making any sense here?). Now project that to societal scale. First, WHO can not act in a country unless the political leadership of the country approves of its programs in the country. Is it possible that the scale of infant mortality in these countries is so dramatic that even with the risks associated with side effects, or with mercury, in terms of the percent of population impacted is still better than without the immunization program?. While you will off course, argue legitimately that the decision should be left to the individual family, and that information should be provided to individual family, and I would agree. However, (there is always the annoying however), when the percentages are small enough, one could argue for or against epidemiological studies especially if the statistical significance are just on border-line of hypothesis rejection. A couple of years ago, Shai and I had a pleasant dialog here on SC about the way some scientists use statistical tools in an attempt to prove their hypothesis, contrary to what science is all about, which is trying to refute ones own hypothesis, and failing to so, it would then stand the probability of being correct. This is the heart of solid empirical research.

I can understand how the term fertility control can be offensive to you. But I would rather take an offensive, yet honest name (call the duck a duck) than take one of these names invented by neocons to make ugly realities sound reasonable. From the stories on Bangladesh, the country’s survival depends on fertility control and on its ability to succeed in doing so because once the system reaches a tipping point of collapse, it will sustain no one. And there would be no need for ferteility control. Famine, disease, poverty, and state failure would start exercising population control .

I will not comment on your discussion with ELie about the mosque. I have not had the chance to read his and the counter-arguments thoroughly yet. But can anyone deny that in KSA, and in areas under Taliban control, people have had their hands cut. And stoning for was exercised. These two punishments are canonical. And for any one to defend them, ask your self first, would you be willing to hold the sward,or to be the one throwing all the stones. These are part of a criminal code, but criminal codes evolve and punishments change with society’s evolution. So what Elie is saying, if we accept Sharia as the singular source of laws, there would be powerful people who can bring back these punishments. That does not mean he is encouraging theft or adultery. And with all to respect, arguing such is a scare tactic. This of course does not absolve Elie from also using a little of his own scare tactic when he exaggerates the prevalence of these practices. The majority of Islamic countries have criminal codes that do not use these punishments. But unfortunately, there are plenty of so called Ulama, who are advocating to their followers that the state is a sinner because it does not apply the Sharia 7udood. If they succeed in getting power, I firmly believe that they would do so. The taliban did that in Afghanistan, In some African countries, local authorities have also done so, to the detriment of their people, and mostly to women. If you believe, as I do, and I think you do based on your description of your family and the way you make family decision, that oppressing women, preventing them from education, and treating them like property are not parts of Islam and do not represent true Islam, then we both are arguing on the wrong site, one should be taking this point to Islamic sites where many ignorant Ulama continue to propagate advices promoting exactly what we think is un-islamic in the name of Islam. It is these people you have to fight and it is their followers that you have to liberate from the wrong interpretations. Not Elie, for I genuinely believe that he would be on your side in that struggle. As someone said, Elie would not stand a chance on these sites, but you would.

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August 19th, 2010, 2:20 am


318. Elie Elhadj said:


It is a pleasure to read your educational and rational comments.

I fully realize the sensitivity of the material on religion that I raise. It took me many years before I could gather the inner strength to discuss religion in general, Islam in particular, critically. It was terribly frightening at first.

Why the fear? Because like most in Syria, I was conditioned as a child at home and school not cross the red line of religion. I grew up among Muslim boys. I attended Islamic religion classes in high school, though I did not have to in those days. I was a typical conformist kid.

I, therefore, realize the pain that some feel as a result of my discussing religious reform issues critically.

I firmly believe that without religious reform there is no political reform and without serious reforms we will be condemned to a life of poverty and exploitation by the developed world. I firmly believe that the way of life that Arab societies lead today, which is the Islamic way of life, is at the core of Arab sorry state of affairs. I firmly believe that the utmost expression of patriotism today is to rebel against religious dogma and call for the separation of religion from the state. The West did it with fantastic results! Syria and other Arab countries should follow suit.

I have chosen to become an agent of genuine religious and political change, but not before spending seven years at SOAS as a student after leaving seven years in Riyadh, during which I was the agent of change helping usher Arab National Bank into the cutting edge of modern banking.

No, Husam, Elie was not mistreated in Saudia. I he were, he would have walked out. You ought to know better. A bank ceo in Riyadh is accorded the utmost of respect at all levels.

It would easier for me to tow the line and be an apologist repeating those one thousand year old traditionists account. But, that would be cowardly and cheating.


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August 19th, 2010, 5:49 am


319. Elie Elhadj said:

302. majedkhaldoun, Husam et al…

Report: Saudi Judge Considers Paralysis Punishment
2010-08-19 14:28:54.183 GMT

Cairo (AP) — Saudi media are reporting that a judge has asked several hospitals in the country whether they could damage a man’s spinal cord as punishment after he was convicted of attacking another man with a cleaver and paralyzing him.

Saudi Arabia enforces Islamic law and on occasion metes out punishments based on the ancient code of an eye-for-an-eye.

At least two Saudi newspapers reported Thursday that a judge in northwestern Tabuk province asked hospitals for a medical opinion on the question.

Okaz newspaper reports that a leading hospital in Riyadh responded that it could not do the operation. Two of the hospitals involved and the court were closed for the Saudi weekend and could not be reached for comment.

-0- Aug/19/2010 14:28 GMT

Now, Majidkhaldou, Husam, et al… this should be what shocks you, not the issues I discuss.


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August 19th, 2010, 11:30 am


320. majedkhaldoun said:

Do you believe in Death sentance?
Executions are carried out nowaday in USA.
In Islam there is no prison sentance,do you know why?
In USA there is over 2.5 million prisoner,at a cost over 150 billion dollar a year,and the question do you approve of prison system even that it is generally known as failing system?
should we ,good people, pay for criminals?
I asked you before another question and no reply,I repeat it .what would you think the victims of Mr. Madoff feel about his sentance ? knowing 3 commited suicide and many became very poor after being very rich.
Putting people to death ,as is done in USA, is it worse than cutting limb?
Waiting for your answer.

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August 19th, 2010, 1:52 pm


321. Elie Elhadj said:


“Do you believe in Death sentance?”

Absolutely positively not.

“should we ,good people, pay for criminals?”

Of course. That’s a part of the cost of living in an evolved civilized society.

“In Islam there is no prison sentence”.

Saudi jails are full to the brim with prisoners.

“what would you think the victims of Mr. Madoff feel about his sentance?”

Mr. Madoff will spend the rest of his life in jail. Madoff got his punishment according to the law. Arab rulers and their cronies rob and murder with impunity. The rule of law is above all else in the US.

“Putting people to death ,as is done in USA, is it worse than cutting limb?”

I am against the death penalty under all circumstances. Cutting limbs for theft is outrageous in modern society.

On the subject of limbs:

302. majedkhaldoun said:

“El Hadj says Islam order cutting the legs of a theif, It is another LIE”.

5:38 (Asad) says: “As for the man who steals and the woman who steals, cut off the hand of either of them in requital for what they have wrought, as a deterrent ordained by God.”

It evolved that if the same thief steels again then his/her foot would be cut off (left foot if he/she had lost the right hand).

You said: “it’s another LIE”.

What were the other lies?

“He encourage Adultary, is this what good ethic in your mind,adultary and steeling is not ethical in all religion and non religous people except in your mind ,you make me sick”.

Misyar and Mut’a “marriage” contracts are akin to prostitution. Both should be condemned in today’s world.


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August 19th, 2010, 2:24 pm


322. Husam said:


You failed to answer my point @ 299, point #5 regarding bringing your issues to the proper Islamic forum:
A. Either you are afraid or,
B. You think that there are no moderate Islamic Sunni platforms in the world where you will find moderate Ulema(s) to debate with.

If you select B. then it means you have a problem with Islam as whole and not just Wahabism and outlandish fatwas. You cannot solve the Palestinian problem without sitting with the Israelis. Why don’t you sit with the people who have the knowledge and the influence to bring about change that you are advocating?

Nothing shocks me in today’s world. There are atheist and cultist that eat other people (cannibalism). And there are people who devote their whole life on nit picking, like you do, (with an agenda, I know, I know some of you think he has no agenda, I am sure he does) extreme religious interpretations to set the discourse against Islam as a whole. And, there are also boys and teenagers whom are forced into felatio in the Vatican. But I don’t go scrutining the World Wide Web looking for outlandish Fatwas, or suckling of the bigger parts in the Church and come back here to SC and report it at every “opportunity” like you are doing “Ahaaaa, look, Muslims are crazies… the Church is homo fraternity…you should be shocked”.

Priests listen to tell-all confessions everyday on behalf of God. And if one bishop asked you to bend over in order to heal or forgive you, will you heed his call?

95% of Mulisms, like 95% of Christians, act in the same normal fashion as everyone else. There will always be crazy people in all religions calling for this or for that. It certainly doesn’t mean that they are listened to and followed like robots which you seem to be tirelessly advocating.

Elie, I suggest that you add your latest finding to the breast suckling and all your other treasures for future reference. And if you really enjoy this kind of stuff and want to save us “Muslims”, develop a site like Daniel Pipes and expose Islam. You can also copy/paste from other sites as there are tons of them online.

I hope you will consider my suggestion; it will give you personal satisfaction and it will attract people to read and investigate such crazy “Muslim” stuff. In essence, you will be doing the propagation of Islam a great favor, because once they read and discover your site, they will be intrigued and will research further arriving at truths, as has just been witnessed by all of us when Norman decided he wants to find out what this nonsense is all about on his own! Many people converted this way and accepted Islam as their faith. They will understand that despite some outlandish disputed Fatwas and despite the Elie(s), the Daniel Pipes and the propaganda in the Media, Islam is beautiful.

Elie, ever seriously ask yourself with all the Talibans and Wahabis, with all the media distortions, and shocking fatwas you fathom, why is Islam growing? Part Answer: It is in part because of people like you spreading negativity, and exactly the reverse happens. Faith and spirituality is a very difficult thing to accept or change, yet dozens of thousands do so every day more to Islam than unto any other faith! September 11th, made me question my faith and I am a better Muslim today because I read and researched for endless nights and realized the truths in what the Quran and Sunnah preaches.

Elie, lastly you said:

“Misyar and Mut’a “marriage” contracts are akin to prostitution. Both should be condemned in today’s world.”

Why should prostitution be banned? Says who? In Holland it is NOT illegal! Prostitution has been around since Adam… so why and when did we evolve to arrive at such conclusion?

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August 19th, 2010, 3:34 pm


323. t_desco said:

Al-Akhbar provides a translation of Stephan Rosiny’s analysis. Nice. So good to see somebody who (unlike most Western journalists) is able to think and ask questions.

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August 19th, 2010, 3:39 pm


324. majedkhaldoun said:

You are against death penalty, I have never heared you talking and blamming USA or any western country criticizing them for death penalty, why dont you do that ? why do you limit yourself about Islam?
You said SAudi jails is full, you are evading and confusing the question I did not ask about Saudia I said in Islam there is no prison sentence, imprisonment is borrowed from the west it has nothing to do with Islam so your answer is wrong
Again in number 5 you quote Asad, while you talks about Islam here again you are confusing the question,people who want to be involved in any discussion should not twist words nor exagerate nor distort, and you seems always to resort to unfounded facts or exageration.
About bernie Madoff you evaded the question go back to my question and read it again

Misyar and Nutaa marriage is not accepted in Islam The prophet banned Mutaa marriage, and Misyar marriage he allowed it if and only if the intention is to be permenent, the importasnt thing is the intention so your point is not valid
about paying criminals I disagree with you, the penalty should be paid by criminala
You did not answer me about why in Islam there is no prison sentence.
I said it , and I say it again there is no where in Quraan or sunni that you cut the legs of someone who steels,this is your conclusion and you seem to have a lot of wrong conclusions
About the Hadith where the prophet banned writing Hadiths, you said that Hadith and sunni is not part of Islam based on this Hadith, first this Hadith was adminstrative order it has nothing to do with essence of Islam, early in Islam it was banned to write Hadiths later on it was “this hadith” deleted, If you studied Islam you should have known the story about Abdullah ibn Amr ibn AmAss, but no you decided to distort Islam, no you prefer to tell half truth, no you twists facts
I do not like long speech ,but you made me.my comment usually few lines

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August 19th, 2010, 4:52 pm


325. majedkhaldoun said:

I meant Abdullah ibn amr ibn AlAss

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August 19th, 2010, 4:56 pm


326. Majhool said:

Please guys, we don’t want this forum to be a gathering of radicals. Radical s”eculars” who advocate secularism for the sake of secularism and at all cost, and radical Muslims who don’t appreciate any other world view.

Most Syrians are in the middle. I have been talking to many ex bloggers and many share my observation of this forum.

Let me be blunt, minorities in Syria should stop this fear mongering and phobia and stop hiding behind secularism, we need to go beyond this and go develop this country.

And Salafi Muslims, should learn, and if not capable, be forced to accept and respect the beliefs of others, all within the laws of the Land.

I fully support the Banning of Neqab. We need more of these laws.

By the way, I think Elie’s tone and language is offensive, not to me but to the majority of Mulsims. This language would not be acceptable even in the reputed american media outlets. some sensitivity goes along way.

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August 19th, 2010, 8:10 pm


327. Norman said:


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August 19th, 2010, 8:50 pm


328. Husam said:



Where did our ethics and morals come from originally? Where did our laws derive from? Man evolved from the stone age and figured his way? I believe not. What one person may view as illegal another may find it tolerable. So which yardstick and on what basis do you build laws of the land on?

Law and lawyers need theologians and moral philosophers to make good sound laws. However, the majority of lawyers nowadays are driven by greed and are heavily trained in technique, but very little on moral and legal philosophy. That is why anyone in serious trouble is told: you better get yourself an expensive lawyer if you can afford the best. And that is why the Jail business is flourishing.

We don’t hold criminals accountable for their crimes, rather we excuse their behaviour or part thereof, on environmental and social conditioning. Today, the simple notion of free choice of committing a crime, is influenced by social and biological factors which argues that actions are a result of heredity and environmental factors. The responsibility of the individual have been diminished in the criminal justice system due to the huge influence of such secular ideologies like those of yours, Elie.

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August 19th, 2010, 10:07 pm


329. Husam said:


About your first paragraph @ 317, deal accepted. And, I am honoured that you are willing to look deeper in this when time permits as I believe you are probably more qualified than I in this area. About Mercury, from what I understood, it doesn’t need to be in there and it can be substituted by something safer and less destructive.

About Monsanto, I do know 110% from my research that they are heavily invested in Egypt but have not reached Syria. I had several email exchanges with the office of Ministry of Agriculture in Syria 2 years back and they did not even know what I was talking about. I think it is only a matter of time. Ahhhh, those tasty fruits. I hope to enjoy at least another 5 years before Syria is invaded by Monsanto. What is wrong with so many seeds in the watermelon? I can’t stand modified oranges without seeds either, it seems unnatural.

Regarding the cutting of the hand, the verdict for me is still up in the air. I don’t think the current legal system anywhere goes far enough in exercising punishment. That is why a great part of our populations are in Jail or have done time. I don’t buy Elie’s argument that this is part of a modern just society and we should pay for everyone else’s mistake. For arguments sake, if tomorrow, cutting off of the hand was made law in Canada, what would happen after 3 years, would theft increase, stay the same or decrease significantly. People know they will get off easily especially if it is the first or second offence.

With all due respect to you, considering Elie’s current views, agenda, distortions, I can never be on the same side as him as you stated. When one offends the majority of Muslims like Majhool has mentioned who represent the Syrian moderate Islamic society, any iota of goodness would be dismissed much like you dismissed the article I presented you.

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August 19th, 2010, 10:55 pm


330. jad said:

As if Mr. Al Qaradawi give a damn about freedom or equality?!

القرضاوي يناشد الأسد الغاء “حظر النقاب”
ناشد العلامة الدكتور يوسف القرضاوي رئيس الاتحاد العالمي لعلماء المسلمين الرئيس بشار الأسد، بالتدخل لوقف قرار وزارتي التربية والتعليم العالي منع المنقبات من حقهن في التعليم والتعلم بالمدارس والجامعات السورية.
وقال القرضاوي خلال حلقة الشريعة والحياة الأخيرة، التي تبثها قناة الجزيرة اختلفت الاقوال في الحجاب، إلا أنه مع “الحرية الشخصية لأي إنسان بارتداء مايشاء من الملابس”، وهذا الحق كفلته القوانين والدساتير، موضحا أن قرار السلطات السورية يحرم الكثير من النساء المنقبات من ممارسة حقهن في التعليم والتعلم.
ووصف القرضاوي الرئيس السوري بأنه “مثقف ومتنور”، مطالبا إياه بالتدخل لوقف هذه القرارات.


And Mr. Albouti story is getting more interesting. I hope he get us another vision about Bab Al 7arato 5?

مسؤول رفيع المستوى يتدخل لوقف (ما ملكت أيمانكم) وجهات عليا تتدخل لضرورة عرضه
علمت صحيفة الأخبار اللبنانية من “مصدر موثوق” أنّ مسؤولاً سوريا رفيع المستوى أخذ على عاتقه قرار منع عرض مسلسل (ما ملكت أيمانكم) لنجدت أنزور، وذلك نزولاً عند رغبة الشيخ محمد سعيد رمضان البوطي. ولكن “حسب الصحيفة” فإن “جهات عليا” تدخلت وأعلمت إدارة التلفزيون السوري بضرورة عرض العمل وفي “توقيت مميّز”، ولا تزال “الفضائية السورية” مستمرة في عرض المسلسل عند التاسعة من كل مساء، أي في وقت الذروة.
وكان الشيخ البوطي حذر في وقت سابق من مغبة عرض هذا المسلسل ووصفه بمسلسل السخرية بالله وبدين الله، وانه يهزأ بالمتدينين من عباد الله، وقال بان اقتطاع جملة “وما ملكت أيمانكم” من القرآن الكريم تنطوي على سخرية بكلام الله عز وجل.
ولم يتردد مخرج العمل نجدت اسماعيل أنزور عن الرد فقد أصدر بيانا يدافع به عن مسلسله قائلا بأنه لا يوجد نص قرآني أو حديث شريف يمنع استخدام كلمة من القرآن كعنوان لمسلسل.

المصدر: داماس بوست – عن الأخبار


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August 20th, 2010, 1:41 am


331. Elie Elhadj said:

295. Akbar Palace said:

“PS – And what if Imam Abdul Rauf doesn’t agree with your 6 points? Then what?”

I have no idea how he’ll respond. Hopefully, he won’t say go ask God! If he does say that, we will be back to square one.

322. Husam said:

“You failed to answer my point @ 299, point #5 regarding bringing your issues to the proper Islamic forum:”

How do you know I don’t? My material is posted and debated on numerous sites.

“Priests listen to tell-all confessions everyday on behalf of God. And if one bishop asked you to bend over in order to heal or forgive you, will you heed his call?”

Two wrongs do not make one right. Further, the Catholic church was defeated centuries ago. The entire church, Catholic and the others were separated from the state. The West triumphed as a result. God has no place in law making. Representative of the people in freely elected parliaments do.

The Prophet reportedly said: “My community reaches no agreement that is an error” [The Six Books. Sunan Abi Dawood, Hadith 4253, p. 1532; and Jame’ Al-Tirmithi, Hadith 2167, p. 1869; and Sunan Ibn Maja, Hadith 3950, p. 2713].

Does the “agreement” require the approval of every member of the community? Or, the community’s majority? The Prophet reportedly said: “In the event of disagreement, the opinion of the majority must prevail” (Sunan Ibn Maja Hadith 3950).

So, let the “majority” of the Prophet’s “community”, who “reaches no agreement that is an error” make Islamic laws today. Technology has made referendums and election easy. Bangladesh, Indonesia, Pakistan, and Turkey already enjoy democratically elected parliaments.

“you have a problem with Islam as whole and not just Wahabism and outlandish fatwas.”

I do not have a problem with Islam. I do have a problem with the demagoguery of all religions with no exception. I do have a problem with certain issues in Islam, particularly because it is applied as God’s law, not parliament’s law. Some of those issues were summarized in the letter to Imam Faisal. Please enlighten us with your answers to those issues.

“shocking fatwas you fathom”.

The shocking fatwas are merely practical examples, the tip of the iceberg, of the much bigger bigger issues outlined in the various comments, some of which were summarized to Imam Faisal.

“Why should prostitution be banned?”
Would you like your daughter to be be a misyar or a mut’a “wife”?

324. majedkhaldoun said:

“You are against death penalty, I have never heared you talking and blamming USA or any western country criticizing them for death penalty, why dont you do that ? why do you limit yourself about Islam?”

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to speak out against the death penalty. I’ll be delighted to speak out against this barbaric penalty any time.

“You said SAudi jails is full, you are evading and confusing the question I did not ask about Saudia I said in Islam there is no prison sentence, imprisonment is borrowed from the west”.

Would you really wish to live in a city without prisons? Would you really wish to walk among people with hand and feet amputated? Would you want to walk by crowds watching the cutting of criminals’ heads in front your local mosque? would you wish to attend spectacles of women and men being stoned to death in your local football stadium?

“In number 5 you quote Asad, while you talks about Islam here again you are confusing the question,people who want to be involved in any discussion should not twist words nor exagerate nor distort, and you seems always to resort to unfounded facts or exageration.”

5:38 is from the Quran, not from Asad.
وَالسَّارِقُ وَالسَّارِقَةُ فَاقْطَعُواْ أَيْدِيَهُمَا جَزَاء بِمَا كَسَبَا نَكَالاً مِّنَ اللّهِ وَاللّهُ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ (5:38)
I did not quote Asad. M. Asad is the name of the translator. You jumped into the wrong conclusion and accused me of “always to resort to unfounded facts or exageration.”

You should know that by now that my sources are impeccable.

“About bernie Madoff you evaded the question go back to my question and read it again”. You said in 320: “I asked you before another question and no reply,I repeat it .what would you think the victims of Mr. Madoff feel about his sentance ? knowing 3 commited suicide and many became very poor after being very rich.”

I dont’ fully understand the question! Suffice to say, however, that Madoff is a shyster and a thief who destroyed the lives of thousands of people, many of whom thought he was their friend. If your question is whether or not he should be executed, the answer is no. He’ll be spending the rest of his life in prison.

“Misyar and Nutaa marriage is not accepted in Islam”

You are wrong, and they are widely practiced. The Shi’ite ulama believe that the Prophet allowed the mut’a contracts, but the caliph Omar prohibited it. Sahih Muslim reported that it was alternately sanctioned then abrogated, several times, then finally prohibited. Shi’ite scholars interpret Verses 4:4 and 4:24 as allowing men to enter into a temporary marriage contract (when traveling, for example) for which a payment to the woman is made by the man in return for her companionship for a specific period of time with no consequent obligations.

Misyar has been sanctioned by a fatwa from Sheikh Abdel Aziz Bin Baz, Saudi Arabia’s grand mufti (1993-1999) and the chairman of the committee of senior ulama, and by the Egyptian Sheikh Mohammed Sayyed Tantawi, the grand mufti of the Al-Azhar mosque. 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.”

So, please do not get into frivolous technicalities. Misyar and Mut’a are nothing but prostitution made legal. Do you wish your daughter, sister, or cousin be misyarily married?

“I said it, and I say it again there is no where in Quraan or sunni that you cut the legs of someone who steels,this is your conclusion and you seem to have a lot of wrong conclusions”.

After a hand is cut off, the repeating offender gets his foot cut off (left foot is the right hand was severed for a previous theft). Ask your Wahhabi and Taliban scholars.

Re. the Hadith part of your comment, please go back to my comment on this specific point to find the exact reference and realize that I do not distortion, tell half truth, or twist facts.

326. Majhool said:
“By the way, I think Elie’s tone and language is offensive, not to me but to the majority of Mulsims.”

I am not surprised at your thinking. You are entitled to your opinion. The subject matter goes to the core. The truth is painful.

328. Husam said:

“Where did our ethics and morals come from originally? Where did our laws derive from? Man evolved from the stone age and figured his way? I believe not.”

Man invented the concept of God along with the corpus of God’s divine rules.


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August 20th, 2010, 3:03 am


332. majedkhaldoun said:

in Quran it says Ghayr musafehat,this means no adultary
again you deleted this part and this is deception
my question about Madoff is very clear you evaded the question.
no cutting legs mentioned in Quran or Sunni,prove your point from these two sources please do not make conclusions

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August 20th, 2010, 7:11 am


333. Husam said:


You are right, I don’t know if you do, or if you don’t discuss evil Islam on other sites. If you can be kind enough to please provide us with links to where you publish your rants against Islam, I would like to read what others say on other sites?

Muta’a is not Sunni, and I don’t believe in it. They are essentially big differences, I can find instances where Misyar maybe accepted by two consenting adults in this time or another. There are rules and I spent a whole hour responding to you on your previous attempt at Misyar but you said “Zero, Nil, Mum” about my counter arguments. In our secular society perhaps 50% of people practice Misyar where I live How many friends of mine and yours have a common-in-law relationship but they live separately? I made several other valid points which are factual of today’s way of life and failed to address them, intentionally. A month and half later you bring it on again repetitively ignoring my points.

Here is what you ignored # 238060:

“Take for example Misyar marriage which Elhadj points out. By his omission to let the average reader know (who aren’t experts on Islam here) that this “fatwa” is of huge debate within Sunni Islam. He never told us that many well known scholars have backed out away from endorsing this marriage and some even reversed their previous decision due to abuses in KSA and Egypt. His rhetoric that these fatwas are one way or the highway is of course false, as no fatwa is biding. If a women willingly agrees, and she believes what she is doing is good for her, then what is the issue? Why is that degrading to women? In the west, many couples consciously choose to be common law partners to get around the financial burden and other obligations found in a regular marriage, which in some ways similar to Misyar. This is freedom. But, then so is Misyar. The problem is people abuse it, and many men (in KSA) especially, use it solely for sex. Men who lie about their intentions are key to the problem. Isn’t this the same with common law partnership when one lies about their seriousness or intentions. The reason I bring this comparison is to show that men and women get together in so many ways today which are acceptable to society, but Misyar is singled out to be barbaric by Elie. And why is it so interesting for Elhadj to hammer away only “excerpts” from a story or an issue that if told in its entirety, will have different meaning, or a different scope. This is the key to misinformation or partial information that is wrong, especially in a complex subject like religion.”

You are desperately tying Misyar to Prostitution which is distortion to the max. Just the fact that a prostitute can have multiple partners in one day should expose your hidden agenda to anyone reading this because Misyar is certainly not the case.

Again, you evaded the exchange about Prostitution. You made reference to prostitution, and I answered you and asked you a question about prostitution: Why is Prostitution illegal? You answered me about Muta’a. Please read my previous last paragraph in #322 and don’t try to escape the simple question.

In your answer to Majedkhaldoun @ 331 you said: “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.”

This comment alone is contradictory to your Misyar = Prostitution B.S. ANY READER, even the most secular and liberal minded ones will realize you have an agenda. A PROSTITUTE by any definition has to involve the acceptance of money for sex, otherwise it fails to mean prostitution and unless anyone can prove money was exchanged it won’t hold in court of law. MISYAR by your own ADMISSION doesn’t involve money. Which means you just insulted Islam and the intelligence of this forum. Anyone doing that is a bigot.

Then you said: “So, please do not get into frivolous technicalities. Misyar and Mut’a are nothing but prostitution made legal. Do you wish your daughter, sister, or cousin be misyarily married?…. You should know that by now that my sources are impeccable.”

Wow! Low blow, you missed big time!

I think if you keep at it, Elie, you will slowly loose the credible audience and respect you have seemed to woe on this forum. Just like OTW, I don’t respect people who leave out important facts, especially those like your comments, which always, always have missing truths when it comes to your rants about Islam.

I think I am done debating with Elie. The only reason I challenged him is because many of you told me he doesn’t have an agenda. I cared less for him but sincerely cared about what my fellow Syrians on SC (religious, non-religious, secularist) thought. This kind of rhetoric and falsehood will drive a wedge between the moderates and the secularist. I love my Christian, Jewish and Muslim Syrians. But when Atheist start attacking religion and others in order to support their personal decision and spiritual void, it becomes bigotry and selfish.

Although I know bits and pieces about my faith, my knowledge of Islam is extremely lacking and I did not want to make a mistake unknowingly. I used a bit of common logical sense in my exchange with Elie to expose his fallacy. OTW, regarding your last comment re: Elie, imagine Elie standing across from someone with just a little more knowledge than I. You will never find him and I next to each other because he will make a fool of me.

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August 20th, 2010, 10:24 am


334. jad said:

Dear Dr.Elie,
CC: Husam, Majed
I agree on the important matter you are raising that we Syrians need to be aware of Wahabism invading our society and I’m with you on that, we should be aware and not let that to happen, however, Husam point is valid and I agree with him on this specific point, that our Syrian Muslim community are made of 95 even 98% of Muslims that they don’t believe or practice any of the issues you criticise, and I think Husam himself wrote before that he doesn’t believe in those specific points you raised but his believe is not affected by those stuff and it shouldn’t since they are the useless crust that we shouldn’t concentrate our attention to and ignore the many positive, civilized and spiritually advanced points of Islam which I personally like and respect and I know that you Elie have the same feelings to them, therefore, pointing out the negative issues Islam has (every religion in this world has many weird stuff) that very few Syrians practice or believe in as the main issue that we must remove before we think of becoming an advanced nation, is unfair to all of us and doesn’t solve the main problem which you, me and many secular Syrians are calling for, SEPARATE RELIGION FROM THE STATE and NOT to tackle every negative aspect of the religion itself, we can win the first but the second one is already lost and there is no point of doing that when it doesn’t affect the state and the society.
Humans need spirituality to feel good, without it our life as it is become meaningless, even with all the unrealistic stuff people believe in, let it be, if that will make a better society, what harm would do even if we human made God just to feel better, it’s a beautiful thing to have a dream and make it reality and believe in it so much that will make me and everybody’s I love life more enjoyable and bearable, it’s much better than living for nothing or in a spiritually poor society.

It is unfair for the majority of Syrian Muslims to be put on the defensive position 24/7-365 a year, every year, everywhere, this kind of debate doesn’t help solving anything or taking us anywhere, but the opposite, it will make the whole society tens and always on alert and will continue to keep our system backward when we forget to debate the main real obstacle we have in our march toward a better Syria.
Syria is not a real secular nor an Islamic state and all the issue regarding stoning, cutting hands or other unusual fatwas doesn’t come out of Syria or even debated to be implement in Syria and if the Saudis want to have them it’s their own problem not mine and I wont take a blame for that and I wont defend them at all, they don’t represent me, I’m a Syrian. Period.

And please guys don’t start defending anything doesn’t represent you, your sect or your interests as a Syrian in anyway, it’s not about us, Syrian Muslims/Non Muslims, it’s for those who implement those rules in their own countries to defend their decisions not for us to do that.

I hope that my comments won’t be received as a personal criticism to anybody; it was a friendly reminder to get back to the many problems we have in Syria that we need to talk and discuss which may have a direct impact on our progress process as a country and as a society. And for me the religion conversation went for too long and all of you guys, Elie, Husam, Majed are saying the same thing over and over, it’s getting the only subject I read on SC lately, aren’t you bored yet!

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August 20th, 2010, 1:42 pm


335. Majhool said:

Ysallem Temmak ya Jad.

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August 20th, 2010, 4:10 pm


336. Husam said:


Three words: Thank you habeeb!

Now some more words 🙂

I will never be bored to challenge those that distort anything, especially Islam, not because this topic is non-negotiable but because those that make it their habitude and to some extent their passion in attacking others’ spirituality by pointing fingers at others into scare tactics unnecessarily and negatively, lack the necessary good intent needed to have a positive discussion.

I just sold one of our cars to a Jewish Syrian friend. He and I are best buddies that concentrate on our common interest and talk Kusa Mehshi, and other stufffff. If you heard us talk, you think we are just off the boat from Sarujah or el Midan. I can’t believe that he is not Muslim and he can’t believe that I am not Jewish because we feel first and foremost that we are Syrian. I will sit next to him proud and protect his Jewish interest and Syrian Heritage (despite my disbelief in Judaism or parts of it). And I am 1000% sure he feels the same towards me. I never appreciated Elie’s tactics, strategy and distortions because I saw from the onset that despite his claim of saving the world from Wahabism, his messages were insincere and two-faced.

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August 20th, 2010, 5:14 pm


337. Opium of the masses said:

I just have several small questions..

Did any muslim ask why Muslim majority countries live in crap holes while secular majority countries live in prosperity? Muslim majority countries suffer from problems from all over different paradigms including political, economic, social, legal, cultural, etc.. and we see secular societies leading much greater lives. One only needs to see with clear eyes, void of emotions and bias, to see that there are some deep problems within islamic societies.

One thing i noticed is that islamic societies tend to be overtly superstitious. They invoke god and religion and include it in every bit of their life, from birth to death. They overly rely on the supernatural to explain what they dont know, and i think this causes deep problems because it pushes sincere and curious people away from real research and finding out the real truth behind natural or social phenomenas. Take for example the scientific notion of Evolution and natural selection. These ideas are frowned upon and researchers in this field are opposed because they conflict with traditional explanations of divine creation. Statistics show that Islamic societies are the least scientifically advanced, greatly because of their attachment to traditional modes of religious thinking. I don’t understand why we hide from saying the truth about religions out loud, and how they are a detriment to the advancement of societies when societies cling unto them. The more role religion plays in society, the more we sink into the crap hole.

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August 20th, 2010, 9:05 pm


338. Husam said:

Salamat Norman:

Remember the link you loved about the new wireless electricity I linked you to 60minutes? Here is another link for yah.

A friend forwarded me this exposé regarding Apartheid in Israel which aired on CBS’s 60 minutes about 18 months ago. I had already seen it, but watching it again angered me as much as it did the first time, here it is in case any of you hadn‘t the opportunity to see this 13 minute report by Bob Simon:


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August 20th, 2010, 10:15 pm


339. Norman said:

Husam ,

Bob Simon is Jewish , the piece indicate that peace is out of reach , I AGREE ,

peace has to be forced on Israel ,

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August 21st, 2010, 8:22 am


340. Husam said:

He is Jewish, that is why he got access. The video capture of IDF soldiers standing on the stairway taking Palestinian hostage for weeks and months needed to be exposed. The women probably are forced to doing the laundry.

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August 21st, 2010, 11:17 am


341. Badr said:

I don’t understand why we hide from saying the truth about religions out loud,

Opium of the masses,

Why you are not using your real name may give a hint!

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August 22nd, 2010, 12:09 pm


342. Husam said:

Opium of the masses,

You questions are not small, they are BIG.

Obviously, you know nothing about Islamic history. Do you know where the first hospital was ever created? Muslims were at one point the most advanced in science, astronomy, medicine,etc.. but lost their way becasue they partially deviated from the core understanding of their religion. That is why there is a revival now, and it will continue…

The deepest crap hole today is none other than the U.S., which also happens to be the one inflicting terror on all corners of the world in the name of freedom.

In the last several centuries, the Arabs have been hijacked by the Ottomans, the Colonialist, and now the West robbing it blind. And yes, most Arab leaders succumb to greed and the throne.

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August 22nd, 2010, 2:07 pm


343. Badr said:

And yes, most Arab leaders succumb to greed and the throne.

I’m tempted to ask you to name the exceptions, but I think I know what you’re going to say.

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August 22nd, 2010, 2:27 pm


344. Opium of the masses said:


What difference does it make if I use a “real” name of a quote?

For all that matters I could name my self Mohammed Ali and that wouldn’t change anything about what I said


The US is not Islamic and they are full of prosperity and stability. This shows that Islam has nothing to do with prosperity of nations. At the same time, we see then when the rationale is blocked and people start using irrational interpretations of events (Religious points of view) then they get it totally wrong and end up destroying themselves from within. They also become easy targets for foreigners to come and quash them. Don’t blame the other for your misery, only blame your self, because your society chose the easy way out! To sit down, pray, and think that God will save them! God or religion has nothing to do with progress. The religious texts in all religions are full of myths from the bronze age. The only way to move forward is to put these things aside when we discuss our real problems! Problems that deal with politics, economics, social, and legal. Stop hiding behind the religious cloak because it will get us nowhere.

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August 22nd, 2010, 7:40 pm


345. Husam said:

Opium of the masses said:

“The US is not Islamic and they are full of prosperity and stability.”

Very well,

Please define prosperity and stability, and then I will answer you.

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August 22nd, 2010, 11:27 pm


346. Badr said:

Opium of the masses,

Apparently you did not get it. What I was trying to tell you is that the reason why we hide from saying the truth about religions out loud, for the “we” who share your opinion about religion, could be the very same one that led you not to use your real name, when you wrote your comment no. 337.

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August 23rd, 2010, 3:33 am




In real life I say the same thing I am saying now. But it’s the standard to use a “nickname” or pseudonym on forums or chatrooms on the internet.

Since we are not using our real ID’s on the internet, I don’t see the point of refraining to target the points directly and from calling a spade a spade.


For prosperity and stability, take for example simple statistics. Standard of living, literacy rates, infant mortality rate, average life expectancy, level of poverty (percent of ppl who live on less than 2$ a day), gdp per capita, level of unemployment, % of people with university degrees, levels of freedoms and liberties (media, press, political, individual, religion etc..), level of corruption, level of scientific development (# of patents, noble prize winners etc..) This is just a small sample. Now go compare the US and Europe and compare it to Muslim majority countries and tell me if you don’t see a problem in those Muslim majority countries.

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August 24th, 2010, 9:53 pm


348. Badr said:

In real life I say the same thing I am saying now


If you were born in a Muslim family, or live in Syria or another Muslim country, where you speak up your mind about religion, expressing the same point of view as the one you did on this blog, but not incognito, I’ll give you credit for the courage you display! 🙂

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August 25th, 2010, 3:32 am


349. Norman said:

August 24, 2010
When an Arab Enclave Thrived Downtown
Conjure, for a moment, a place just steps from City Hall but a world apart. Salaam.

Yes, that is the fragrance of strong coffee in the air, of sweet figs and tart lemons, of pastries that remind buyers of childhoods in Damascus and Beirut. Bazaars abound with handmade rugs and brass lamps and water pipes. Men wear fezzes. A few women retire behind veils. Al-Hoda is the leading newspaper. Business signs — at least those legible to a non-Arabic speaker — proclaim “Rahaim & Malhami,” “Noor & Maloof” and “Sahadi Bros.”

This is not what the lower west side of Manhattan would look like if the much-debated Islamic community center were built two blocks from the World Trade Center site. This is what it looked like decades before the World Trade Center was even envisioned. This is its heritage.

All but lost to living memory and forgotten in the current controversy, Washington Street was the “heart of New York’s Arab world,” as The New York Times described it in 1946, shortly before that Arab-American community was almost entirely displaced by construction of entrance ramps to the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel.

To be clear: this neighborhood, called Little Syria, was south of what would become the trade center site, while the Islamic center would be to the north. And Muslims, chiefly from Palestine, made up perhaps 5 percent of its population. The Syrians and Lebanese in the neighborhood were mostly Christian.

But it is worth recalling the old sights and sounds and smells of Washington Street as a reminder that in New York — a city as densely layered as baklava — no one has a definitive claim on any part of town, and history can turn up some unexpected people in surprising places. (The Abyssinian Baptist Church, for instance, was once on Waverly Place.)

Washington Street was “an enclave in the New World where Arabs first peddled goods, worked in sweatshops, lived in tenements and hung their own signs on stores,” Gregory Orfalea wrote in “The Arab Americans” (Olive Branch Press, 2006). Among them was Mr. Orfalea’s grandmother Nazera Jabaly Orfalea, who arrived in New York from Syria in 1890.

“She would have walked Washington Street,” he said in an interview. “She was a peddler. I have no doubt she was grubstaked by suppliers on Washington Street.”

Mr. Orfalea attributed the migration of Syrians, Lebanese and Palestinians to starvation, lawlessness, conscription, taxation and religious intolerance at home; to proselytizing by American missionaries; and to economic troubles that led them to a new world where cultures existed, sometimes bruisingly, cheek by jowl.

“The calls in Arabic of the mothers to their children romping on the street mingle with the jazz screechings from another home and the Homeric curses of the truck-drivers on their way to the wharves,” Konrad Bercovici wrote in the 1924 book, “Around the World in New York,” with a nod toward the nearby Greek settlement of Little Athens.

Little Syria was where the Linotype typesetting machine was adopted for Arabic characters, by the brothers Naoum and Salloum Mokarzel of Al-Hoda (The Guidance). This development “made possible and immeasurably stimulated the growth of Arabic journalism in the Middle East,” The New York Times wrote in 1948.

But the presence of the intelligentsia in the quarter was no bulwark against stereotype. A neighborhood brawl in 1905 was fought by “wild-eyed Syrians,” The Times reported. “The dim light from barroom and cafe showed the glint of steel in 200 swarthy hands.”

Mr. Orfalea discerned parallels with the present controversy. “We fail to deal with the Arab world in rational terms,” he said, “because we immediately reduce them to the irrational.”

Historical accounts describe no mosques on Washington Street, but there were three churches that served the Lebanese and Syrian Christians.

St. George Chapel of the Melkite Rite still stands, at 103 Washington Street. It may be the last recognizable remnant of Little Syria. It is now Moran’s Ale House and Grill.

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August 25th, 2010, 7:42 am


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