Archive for the ‘International’ Category

220px-Sheikh_Sabah_IVMusallam al-Barrak, an outspoken former member of the Kuwaiti parliament, appears to have his answer. Al-Barrak appealed to Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah (right) in a 2012 speech not to impose “autocratic rule.” He was later arrested and has now been sentenced to five years in jail.

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220px-Juliana_Tea_Party170px-Ministry_of_Interior_Saudi_Arabia.svgIn Saudi Arabia, the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice is a religious police force that has been a constant presence in the Kingdom arresting woman having coffee with colleagues or forcing young girls to burn to death in fire rather than run out without their scarves. Then there was the time that the religious police in Dammam marched into a popular dinosaur exhibit and shut it down without any explanation of why the dinosaurs threatened the virtue of good Muslims. Then there was the flogging of a women who insulted them. Then there are the round ups of religious people for simply praying at home. Then there is the arrest of a man for standing in line with his wife at a grocery store. The list goes on and on. The latest entry is the arrest of young men for simply dancing at a birthday party. Birthday parties have been denounced by Saudi clerics as unIslamic, but this the first such arrest that many can recall that did not involve dancing with women.

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By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi

Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi

A consortium of one hundred and twenty Islamic Scholars have placed onto the internet an Open Letter to Islamic State (ISIS) leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi denouncing the organization’s violent and extremist actions in the Middle East. The letter, in the form of an interactive website, provides the world with an opportunity to read a perspective of the Islamic State’s affront to civilization from an academic analysis by scholars. The letter addresses the fundamental and basis in canon for disputing the claims of Al-Baghdadi that his is the only pure and legitimate form of Islam–refuting his claims of divine assent.

The original, in the Arabic, is presently being translated into other languages. The English is presently available.

There has been unfortunately much misconception in the Western World that there lacks true dissent to the terrorist outrages in the Muslim World.  This letter can serve a secondary goal to educate those in other cultures having concerns.

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Vengeance as Policy

By Mike Appleton, Weekend Contributor

“Towards thee I roll, thou all-destroying but unconquering whale; to the last I grapple with thee; from hell’s heart I stab at thee; for hate’s sake I spit my last breath at thee.”

-Herman Melville, Moby Dick

The response to the grotesquely brutal murder of Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh on February 3 was intense and swift. Within hours after the Islamic State released its obscene video, Jordan hanged two al-Qaeda prisoners. Thousands of Jordanian citizens marched through the streets of Amman in a demonstration joined by Queen Rania. The young pilot’s father, Safi al-Kaseasbeh, demanded “revenge, severe revenge for the blood of Muath.” Tribal elders, who only recently were arguing that Jordan should withdraw from the U.S.-led coalition conducting airstrikes in Syria and Iraq, now called for retribution in the name of “Muath the Martyr.” By the following day, Jordanian F-16s were bombing ISIS targets in Syria.

The conservative media in this country promptly labeled King Abdullah II a hero. On Fox & Friends, Elisabeth Hasselbeck praised him for “stepping up with strong leadership and clarity, ” adding, “What is our president doing?” Even Charles Barkley weighed in, publicly expressing his wish that President Obama were more like the Jordanian king.

Please excuse me if I refrain from joining the fawning multitudes.

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By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

flag-of-thailandIn what has become both controversial for several groups and will be likely frustrating for couples who have few options for having children of their own genetics, the Thai government has introduced legislation that bans foreign couples from utilizing the services of its citizens for surrogacy for commercial means and other types based upon demographics of the contracting parents. The government cities that it has concerns that their nation will become “The Womb of the World” where social and economic issues could be distressful to young women and cause issues with society as a whole.

Yet, the law seems to have become more than this. Additional restrictions levied affect specific demographics of married couples and for homosexual couples especially.

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0d2b602e-181e-48e5-a6e4-57331c579cec_16x9_600x338We have previously discussed the sometimes curious notion of an intellectual in Saudi Arabia. The fact is that I have met many brilliant Saudi academics and that fact is that every country has their wing nuts. However, Saudi has had a litany of these respected clerics or academics spouting nonsense. The latest is Sheikh Bandar al-Khaibari who corrected a student and told him that it is a myth that the Earth revolves around the Sun. Al-Khaibari’s defense of the Ptolemaic system would seem a few hundred years out of date but he appears to view geocentrism as commanded by Allah.

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DonutPowedered-768926150px-KKK.svgIt appears that White Power and White Powder do not mix. The UK Krispy Kreme branch has made a hasty retreat from its promotion for a new event: KKK Wednesday. No, the donut chain insists that it was not trying to get a neo-Nazi niche market. It was supposed to stand for Krispy Kreme Klub. The news will likely be a disappointed for all of those rotund Ku Klux Klan members seeking a donut with just the right white glaze and segregated flavors. A company spokeswoman has apologized “unreservedly for the inappropriate name of a customer promotion at one of our stores.”

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