Greater Middle East

Another Turkish writer faces persecution

We have noted a growing number of Turkish writers to face prosecution for their words. The latest is, especially perversely, charged in connection with a work of fiction. From The Guardian, July 24:

In Istanbul, a writer awaits her day in court
Bestselling novelist Elif Shafak is the latest writer to face trial for "insulting Turkishness". She tells Richard Lea about her work, the charges that have been brought against her, and how the Turkish language has become a battleground.

Duygu Asena, Turkish feminist writer, dies at 60

Note, of course, that her work was banned. From Middle East Times, July 31:

ANKARA -- Duygu Asena, a renowned Turkish journalist and writer who devoted much of her work to promoting women's rights, has died at the age of 60 after battling a brain tumor for the past two years, the Anatolia news agency reported.

Jew-haters reap Lebanon windfall

The first one we've all heard about. From DPA, July 30:

Muslim charged in Jewsh center shooting
A Muslim man who allegedly killed a woman and wounded five others inside a Jewish community centre in Seattle, Washington, gained entry by holding a teenaged girl at gunpoint, police said Saturday.

Israel targets Lebanon's infrastructure; Deep Purple unawed

From Lebanon's Daily Star, July 19:

Latest targets of air blitz: milk and medicine
BEIRUT: Israel switched gears in its military campaign against Lebanon Monday and Tuesday, launching a series of debilitating air strikes against privately owned factories throughout the country and dealing a devastating blow to an economy already paralyzed by a week of hits on residential areas and crucial infrastructure.

US behind Coptic church schism?

It is heartening that in this paranoid age even the Coptic Christians of Egypt see US-backed conspiracies in the challenges which are emerging to their own orthodoxy. As we recently noted, neocon groups like the Henry Jackson Society have been seeking to exploit the Copts, who face persecution from the Muslim majority, as ideological cannon fodder in their propaganda war against Islamic extremism and the Islamic nations generally. The suspicions expressed here (note highlighted text below) would suggest they have a long way to go. Also interesting that the orthodox Copts' complaint of US meddling mirrors that of their Islamic fundamentalist oppressors: the yankees are backing modernizers who are eroding core tenets of the faith. First, this short clip from Egypt's Middle East Times, July 12:

Hezbollah: Iran's proxy?

OK, here's the big-ticket question. Is Lebanon a mere pawn in an Iran-Israel proxy war? Sound off, readers. Ori Nir writes for The Forward, July 14:

Israel Seeks To Eliminate Iran's Hezbollah Option
WASHINGTON — In addition to securing the release of its captured soldiers and stopping the ongoing wave of missile attacks, a major goal of Israel's current operation is to strengthen its hand in dealing with Iran.

Jordanians protest Israeli aggression —but where were the Islamists?

Text of report by Dubai-based news channel Al-Arabiya TV on 14 July, as translated by BBC Monitoring:

At a time when the Jordanian monarch, King Abdallah II, left for Cairo to meet Egyptian President Husni Mubarak in an effort to end the current military escalation, the Jordanian cities witnessed mass demonstrations in solidarity with the Lebanese people and in protest against the Israeli aggression.

Jordan deportation approved —despite torture claim

In a decision dated April 7 and released on April 11, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) ruled that Southern California Muslim community leader Abdel-Jabbar Hamdan can be removed to Jordan, partially reversing a Feb. 12, 2005 ruling by immigration judge D.D. Sitgraves that Hamdan might be tortured there. The BIA upheld Sitgraves' denial of asylum but found that the torture claim was based on insufficient evidence. Hamdan's lawyers will take the case to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals; meanwhile, the ACLU is pursuing a habeas lawsuit to release him from detention. Hamdan, who is Palestinian, has been living in the US for over 25 years and has six US-born children. He was arrested July 27, 2004, on an immigration violation; authorities have never charged him with a crime, but claim he supported terrorism in his paid job as a fundraiser for the Texas-based Holy Land Foundation (Los Angeles Times, April 12)

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