Sunday, June 17, 2018

Accident or Terror? You Decide


News Analysis and Poll
Accident or Terror? You Decide Why were authorities so quick to rule out terror in the taxi 'incident' in Moscow? Take Poll
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Boys Without Fathers and the Islamic State How young boys are coerced into joining Islamic State Watch
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Media Review
What Arabic Media Says About the US – June 17, 2018 From America colluding with ISIS to Trump wanting to change the world order Read and Share
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Europe: Ramadan Roundup, 2018


In this mailing:
  • Soeren Kern: Europe: Ramadan Roundup, 2018
  • Lawrence A. Franklin: Salute to Two Intellectual Giants: Bernard Lewis and Richard Pipes
  • Amir Taheri: The Turkish Race

Europe: Ramadan Roundup, 2018

by Soeren Kern  •  June 17, 2018 at 5:00 am
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  • In France, the government, which previously vowed to reduce foreign influences on the practice of Islam in the country, approved visas for 300 imams from Algeria and Morocco to lead Ramadan services in French mosques.
  • "Every message, no matter how poisonous the message is, should have the right to be expressed." — Ahmed Aboutaleb, Mayor of Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
  • "The Turkish minister of foreign affairs tried to teach me a lesson about my Islamic identity. It is going too far if a foreign state, which is far away, tries to teach the mayor of Rotterdam about Dutch law and how I should apply it." — Ahmed Aboutaleb, Mayor of Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
In London, Southwark Cathedral hosted an iftar dinner — a meal after sunset during the month of Ramadan — as part of the program of events to mark the anniversary of the London Bridge attack. (Garry Knight/Wikimedia Commons)
Muslims across Europe are marking the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month, which in 2018 was observed between May 17 and June 15, in accordance with the Islamic lunar calendar.
Ramadan, a major topic for public discussion in Europe this year, received considerable media coverage, a reflection of Islam's rising influence.
Muslim leaders sought to leverage the media attention to showcase Ramadan — a time when Muslims abstain from eating and drinking between sunrise and sunset, to commemorate, according to Islamic tradition, the revelation of the Quran to Mohammed — as the peaceful nature of Islam in Europe.
European multiculturalists, normally strict enforcers of secularism when it comes to Christianity, made great efforts to draw up guidelines, issue instructions and carve out special privileges to ensure that Muslims were not offended by non-Muslims during the festival.

Salute to Two Intellectual Giants: Bernard Lewis and Richard Pipes

by Lawrence A. Franklin  •  June 17, 2018 at 4:30 am
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  • Richard Pipes heaped scorn on those who romanticized Russian revolutionaries, whom he viewed as mere Bolshevik thugs who raised funds through a string of bank robberies and blackmail plots.
  • Bernard Lewis had the intellectual courage to navigate the third rail of relations between the Islam and the West.
  • Let us hope that those whom Professor Lewis enlightened will be equal to the task of defeating the ongoing challenge of what many see as the third totalitarian wave of religious triumphalism, just as Professor Pipes was equal to the task in combating Soviet totalitarianism.
Bernard Lewis (left) and Richard Pipes. (Image sources: Lewis - Levan Ramishvili/Flickr; Pipes - Mariusz Kubik/Wikimedia Commons)
It is appropriate for all free men and women to honor two scholars who helped preserve Western Civilization from totalitarian aggression. Both became American by choice.
Sadly, both, one British, one Polish, died this May.
Bernard Lewis and Richard Pipes, both veterans of World War II, risked their lives against the modern world's first wave of authoritarianism, Nazi fascism. Their bold and far-sighted analyses of new threats to liberty were driven by the totalitarian ideologies of Soviet Communism and Islamic triumphalism, and received the expected condemnation from acolytes of these enfolding systems.

The Turkish Race

by Amir Taheri  •  June 17, 2018 at 4:00 am
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  • Observers of the Turkish experience are almost unanimous in thinking that Recep Tayyip Erdogan's leadership may have led to five new impasses.
  • Two decades ago, Erdogan was the bearer of a new message of pluralism, power-sharing and give-and-take. Today, he himself is the message. In voting for Erdogan you are no longer voting for a program, a philosophy, or even a new governing elite. You vote for Erdogan.
  • Erdogan's win could also turn out to be his loss, especially if, as many expect, voter turnout and his share of the votes take a downward turn.
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. (Photo by Getty Images)
As the Turkish election campaign reaches its final phase, a consensus is emerging that it should be regarded as a referendum on Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the man who has dominated the nation's politics for almost two decades.
Erdogan has often boasted that he has never lost an election and, as polls indicate, he is unlikely to lose this time either. Since 2002, he and his AKP (Justice and Development Party) have won five parliamentary elections, three local elections, three referendums and one presidential election.
But what if the victory he expects next week turns out to be a tactical win and a strategic loss?
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The Diplomatic Big Bang


The Diplomatic Big Bang

by Ahmed Charai  •  June 16, 2018 at 5:00 am
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  • Diplomacy is changing before our eyes.
  • "The unspoken objective is to constrain the U.S., and to transfer authority from national governments to international bodies. The specifics of each case differ, but the common theme is diminished American sovereignty, submitting the United States to authorities that ignore, outvote or frustrate its priorities.... By reasserting their sovereignty, the British are in the process of escaping, among other things, the European Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights." — Ambassador John R. Bolton, Wall Street Journal, March 7, 2017.
Pictured: Donald Trump and other heads of state deliberate at the G7 summit on June 9, 2018 in Charlevoix, Canada. (Photo by Jesco Denzel /Bundesregierung via Getty Images)
The Singapore summit is indeed historic. First, it is so because just a few weeks ago we were closer to a nuclear war than to even the semblance of a peace process. The way we got here is surprising, because it did not obey the usual rules.
A few days ago, during the G7 summit held in Canada, US President Donald Trump upheld his decisions on tariffs and his positions on the trade deficit. These stances followed his decision to pull out of the Paris climate change agreement and the Iranian "nuclear deal". It is clear that the new US administration challenged the alliances inherited from the Cold War. President Trump, a businessman, not a politician -- one of the reasons he was elected -- is asking America's trading partners just to have "free, fair and reciprocal" agreements. It is probably not all that unusual to feel affronted when asked for money or to regard the person asking for it as mercenary or adversarial. It does not always mean that this feeling is justified.
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