ISIS the purveyor of death and plunder have nothing else to offer humanity.


I’m glad someone else has figured, although not to the same extent as I have, that ISIS doesn’t have anything to offer.  Like American media it makes its splash with sensationalism but there is no substance attached with it. So says the author of this WashPo piece.

The Islamic State’s vaunted exercise in state-building appears to be crumbling as living conditions deteriorate across the territories under its control, exposing the shortcomings of a group that devotes most of its energies to fighting battles and enforcing strict rules.

Services are collapsing, prices are soaring, and medicines are scarce in towns and cities across the “caliphate” proclaimed in Iraq and Syria by the Islamic State, residents say, belying the group’s boasts that it is delivering a model form of governance for Muslims.

Slick Islamic State videos depicting functioning government offices and the distribution of aid do not match the reality of growing deprivation and disorganized, erratic leadership, the residents say. A trumpeted Islamic State currency has not materialized, nor have the passports the group promised. Schools barely function, doctors are few, and disease is on the rise.

In the Iraqi city of Mosul, the water has become undrinkable because supplies of chlorine have dried up, said a journalist living there, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to protect his safety. Hepatitis is spreading, and flour is becoming scarce, he said. “Life in the city is nearly dead, and it is as though we are living in a giant prison,” he said.

In the Syrian city of Raqqa, the group’s self-styled capital, water and electricity are available for no more than three or four hours a day, garbage piles up uncollected, and the city’s poor scavenge for scraps on streets crowded with sellers hawking anything they can find, residents say.

The article goes on to say what little this terror group has managed to accomplish is due in large part to western aid groups….those same westerners who are being killed by ISIS for their insane rationale that even this writer can’t fathom.  So there you have it folks a rag tag group of people who offer the world murder and mayhem and not much else that lives on the largesse of people it despises and kills…..almost the perfect recipe for government.

 

An Open Letter to Al-Baghdadi


There’s no doubt this phenomenon of ‘The Islamic State’ has very little to do with Islam…..rather it is a geopolitical group put together by who knows to further the aims of those who want to see confusion and strife rule in the Arab/Muslim world.  We are all well acquainted with what ISIL, ISIS, ‘the Islamic State has done but now there is no room for doubt about what the world’s “other” Muslims or people of good will and common sense think about them.  The image below makes a rather simplified distinction between who and what ISIL/ISIS/’the Islamic state is and the religion of Islam itself in what could only be called a double entendre.

convert

 

 

 

The international Muslim community has decided to take on ISIS/ISIL/the Islamic state head on using the very weapons employed by them to justify their murderous binges and have literally bitch slapped them harder than Ray Rice beat his wife in what could only be decisively and irrefutably removing from them the cloak of Islamic legitimacy.  They wrote an open letter to Al-Baghdadi which can be found in its entirety here and it leaves no doubt where the signatories stand nor where the rest of the Muslim world SHOULD stand.  It also stands as a document every Muslim can point to when those too lazy to find it themselves and who then like to ask facetiously where are the Muslim voices of condemnation to silence such haphazard and sophomoric excuses.  The points made by the over 100 Muslim scholars who put this document together were summarized on the first page of the letter, but each point was expounded on in detail throughout the 23 page document…

It is permissible in Islam [for scholars] to differ on any matter, except those fundamentals of
religion that all Muslims must know.
It is forbidden in Islam to ignore the reality of contemporary times
when deriving legal rulings.
It is forbidden in Islam to kill the innocent.
It is forbidden in Islam to kill emissaries, ambassadors, and diplomats; hence it is forbidden to kill journalists and aid workers.
Jihad in Islam is defensive war. It is not permissible without the right cause, the right purpose
and without the right rules of conduct.
It is forbidden in Islam to declare people non Muslim unless he (or she) openly declares
disbelief.
It is forbidden in Islam to harm or mistreat in any way Christians or any ‘People of the
Scripture’.
It is obligatory to consider Yazidis as People of the Scripture.
The reintroduction of slavery is forbidden in Islam. It was abolished by universal consensus.
It is forbidden in Islam to force people to convert.
It is forbidden in Islam to deny women their rights.
It is forbidden in Islam to deny children their rights.
It is forbidden in Islam to enact legal punishments (hudud) without following the correct
procedures that ensure justice and mercy.
It is forbidden in Islam to torture people.
It is forbidden in Islam to disfigure the dead.
It is forbidden in Islam to attribute evil acts to God
It is forbidden in Islam to destroy the graves and shrines of Prophets and Companions.
Armed insurrection is forbidden in Islam for any reason other than clear disbelief by the ruler
and not allowing people to pray.
It is forbidden in Islam to declare a caliphate without consensus from all Muslims.
Loyalty to one’s nation is permissible in Islam.
After the death of the Prophet, Islam does not require anyone to emigrate anywhere.
The above is a pretty comprehensive list of dos and don’ts that has been flaunted by ISIL/ISIS/the Islamic state in ways that are almost cartoonish in nature.  One of the signees of the above missive, Hamza Yusuf an American Muslim addressed the issue of ISIS/ISIL/the Islamic state in a rousing sermon for the Friday prayers which for those too lazy or disinclined to read the letter to Al-Baghdadi can listen to what he had to say here.  It’s something that has been consistently said by Muslims in America but has equally been ignored by their detractors.

Fareed nailed this one….


When I first read the news headline that Saudi Arabia declined a seat on the United Nations Security Council my first reaction was who cares?  Citing the UN’s inability to solve the Syrian conflict and how Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime continues to kill its one people, including with chemical weapons, without facing any punishment Saudi Arabia has some nerve.  Syria opened itself up tosaudi_arabia_map inspection in ways the Kingdom would never dare do; chemical weapons are no longer an issue there and yes Syria is still embroiled in a civil war but it’s really a matter of degree.  What Middle Eastern Arab country is NOT killing or otherwise oppressing its citizens?  Fareed states the case rather well.

Saudi Arabia was one of only three countries in the world to recognize and support the Taliban-led government in Afghanistan until the 9/11 attacks……

Saudi Arabia’s objections to the Obama Administration’s policies toward Syria and Iran are not framed by humanitarian concerns for the people of those countries. They are rooted in a pervasive anti-Shi’ite ideology. Riyadh has long treated all other versions and sects of Islam as heresy and condoned the oppression of those groups. A 2009 report from Human Rights Watch details the ways in which the Saudi government, clerics, religious police and schools systematically discriminate against the local Shi’ite population, including arrests, beatings and, on occasion, the use of live ammunition. (And not just the Shi’ites. In March 2012, Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti issued a fatwa declaring that it was “necessary to destroy all the churches in the Arabian Peninsula.”)……

Saudi royals have been rattled by the events in their region and beyond. They sense that the discontent that launched the Arab Spring is not absent in their own populace. They fear the rehabilitation of Iran. They also know that the U.S. might very soon find itself entirely independent of Middle Eastern oil.

Given these trends, it is possible that Saudi Arabia worries that a seat on the U.N. Security Council might constrain it from having freedom of action. Or that the position could shine a light on some of its more unorthodox activities. Or that it could force Riyadh to vote on issues it would rather ignore.

The US must learn to say to all those in the Middle East that America will act to preserve its interests and sometime they will not concur with those of our allies in which case we must be able to say good riddance, so long and if an ally has a conniption fit because America is doing something that ally doesn’t like the US must stay the course of whatever interest it has embraced, all others be damned.

 

Two recent terrorism cases


Some people made a big deal about Hani Nour Eldin, a member of Egypt’s dissolved parliament, getting a U.S. visa and meetings with U.S. officials despite his membership in Egypt’s Gama’a al-Islamiyya, which the State Department deems a “foreign terrorist organization.”  It didn’t matter to those same people that the group Gama’a al-Islamiyya renounced violence  at around the turn of this century.  Nor did it matter to them  that the group’s renounciation was accepted by our ally, Egypt’s Hosni Mubara.  The problem was/is  the US State department, now headed by the dreaded and hated spouse of Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton that the Right has pilloried ever since their appearance on the political stage had gone over to the Islamist/terrorist  side.  But as in most things that originate from the right side of America’s political spectrum these days, there really wasn’t much substance to their concern for America…..it did give the right the opportunity to sling mud at its two biggest political existential threats, the Obama Administration and Muslims.

It’s little wonder that members of the Right were silent about this bit of news. The Syrian government’s Muslim religious leader,  Grand Mufti Ahmad Badreddine Hassoun was quoted last October as saying, ‘I say to all of Europe, I say to America, we will set up suicide bombers who are now in your countries, if you bomb Syria or Lebanon. From now on, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ The as dreaded as the Clinton’s State Department, CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations) in today’s America wasn’t going to let that kind of rhetoric go unnoticed and protested

We urge you to deny entry to Grand Mufti Ahmad Badreddine Hassoun, who has threatened our nation’s national security with calls for suicide attacks and whose state-appointed function is to provide a religious veneer for a brutal regime that has killed and tortured thousands of its own people…

Hassoun’s entry into the United States would only serve to provide credibility for his false claim that the ongoing revolution against the Assad dictatorship is inspired by foreign interests, instead of the Syrian people‘s clear desire for peace, freedom and the rule of law.

By allowing Hassoun entry to the United States, we would send a contradictory and counterproductive message to the beleaguered people of Syria at time when they are suffering such hardships at the hands of the regime’s forces.

No doubt CAIR’s diligence is due in no small part to criticism about how Muslims do very little self-policing of themselves which CAIR did to a rather successful conclusion but it will do little to stem the name calling they are part of a larger Muslim Brotherhood conspiracy.  They needn’t worry about that however, since it seems EVERYONE is a part of the takeover of America by the Muslim Brotherhood. Neither should CAIR expect anyone from the Right will give them credit for the organization’s  outspokenness on an issue that they, the Right  likes to call its own….pointing out or highlighting religiously connected terrorism.  By co opting the Right’s  issue of choice, CAIR has made the Right irrelevant.  At the least they deserve an ‘attaboy!

Positive Results from the Arab Spring


One of the biggest world wide problems has been how to bring peace to the Middle East and especially to the Holy Lands of the Fertile Crescent.  Parties on both sides of the conflict have obfuscated their goals and concerns, which has only led to slaughter and conflict for almost a century.  One of the points of contention has been what Israel claims is Palestinians refusal to recognize Israel’s right to exist and to cease hostilities towards the Jewish state.

All of the Palestinian parties have met those conditions, except one, Hamas….so claim the Israelis, and now they too might have come around.

Jane’s, an internationally respected British security and defense risk-analysis firm, has recently reported that Hamas, the Palestinian militant group, is on “the brink of renouncing armed resistance and moving to a policy of nonviolent resistance to Israel.” Jane’s, with which I have been a monthly writer to three of its publications since 2007, has several hard-to-ignore quotes in its report of Hamas leaders saying that the move was not “tactical” but “strategic.” Also interviewed are Palestinian Authority intelligence officers who said that Hamas’s strategy was “gradual and nuanced,” with one senior officer telling Jane’s that Hamas “intends to keep its military and security units to control the situation in Gaza, not necessarily to fight the Israelis.” The interviewees’ names were not mentioned for obvious security reasons.

I urge every subscriber to Jane’s to read that groundbreaking piece of reporting because, even if it is not publicly confirmed yet by Hamas’s leadership, it has all the makings of a fascinating story which I am positive will generate an intense debate not only in the Arab world and Israel but also in Washington and other Western capitals. The story is starting to get serious attention in the international press with the Financial Times, Sydney Herald Tribune and other media outlets covering it.

The report, written by my friend and colleague David Hartwell, Jane’s Middle East and Islamic affairs editor, argues that the springboard for this new strategic approach by Hamas is the Arab uprising. More directly, Egypt, Qatar and Turkey reportedly played a key role in convincing Hamas to reconcile with its historical rival Fatah and end armed resistance against Israel. Hartwell writes that Hamas leader Khaled Meshal, in a meeting on November 24 in Cairo with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, accepted “in writing with a signature” the need to embrace peaceful activism. And if this is not controversial enough, echoing Syrian opposition leader Burhan Ghalioun, Hamas’s leadership also told Jane’s that it will be “downgrading its ties with Syria and Iran and forge new relationships with Egypt, Qatar, and Turkey.”

In some ways, perhaps, this development could have been foreseen. Even the most ideological and stubborn actors in the Middle East have been forced to adjust to the new political realities created by the Arab uprising. Hezbollah in Lebanon, for example, has been feeling increasingly vulnerable and isolated lately because of the escalating civil conflict in Syria and the threat that poses to its ally, the Syrian regime. Hezbollah recently made significant concessions at home, including its approval of funding for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon—an entity that Hezbollah’s leadership for years had viewed as a tool used by Israel and the United States to defeat it. Other signs of Hezbollah’s contemplation of life after Syrian president Bashar Assad include its decision to move most of its military hardware that has been stored in Syria back to areas under its control inside Lebanon, including the South and the Bekaa.

Yet despite its evident tactical adjustments, Hezbollah hasn’t suggested any intent to disarm, forge new strategic alliances or end its military struggle against Israel. In fact, in a rare public appearance this month, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah declared that his party will remain defiant, side with Assad’s Syria and never relinquish its arms. If Hamas, an ally of Hezbollah, Syria and Iran (the so-called Resistance Axis), truly intends to reinvent itself, that would be a historic development with massive political and security implications not just for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but also for the whole of Middle East politics.

There are numerous questions surrounding Hamas’s reported decision, the most obvious being why it could have possibly adopted such a stance. It is one thing to say that Hamas felt motivated and/or pressured by Turkey, Egypt and Qatar to renounce violence. But it takes much more for an organization to abandon everything it has stood for and create for itself a new identity. After all, Saudi Arabia and Egypt have tried countless times in the past to shape Hamas and lure it, with financial and political rewards, to leave the pro-Iran-Syria-Hezbollah camp and give up armed struggle. The strategy did not work simply because Hamas felt it had much more to lose than gain. The Resistance Axis was always on the rise, especially after the 2003 Iraq war as Iran and Syria gained influence in the region at the expense of their rivals.

No more. Today, with Iran feeling more cornered by the international community (minus Russia and China) than ever because of its controversial nuclear program and with Syria’s regime fighting an existential battle against its own people, the balance of power is shifting in the Middle East, and this has not gone unnoticed by Hamas. It is foolish to deny that Hamas’s decisions and behavior have been partly driven by ideological convictions and motivations, but it is also wrong to argue the organization has not acted rationally, based on material interest. The decision it reportedly has currently taken may be further proof of that.

While it is important to remember that Hamas’s leadership has not gone public with its decision, it is worth noting that the majority of its external political staff has already evacuated Damascus, where it has a key office managed by Meshal. Their next destination is likely to be Cairo and Doha, where leaders there have committed to sponsoring the movement politically and financially. Unlike Hezbollah, Hamas has refused to say publicly that it is siding with the Syrian regime, a move that has angered not only the Syrian leadership but also the mullahs in Tehran—causing them, according to Jane’s and other sources, to stop providing financial assistance. With money drying up and winds of change rocking the region, it is no wonder Hamas was fed up with Syria and Iran. One also cannot exclude the sectarian underpinnings of Hamas’s decision. While Hamas never allowed its religious identity—Sunni—to prevent it from forming necessary and strategic alliances with Shiite Iran and Hezbollah, the party is pragmatic enough to realize that positioning itself against the Sunni Islamist tide that is currently sweeping the region (in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, possibly Syria and elsewhere) is against its long-term interests. Having operated in the Iranian strategic orbit in the past, Hamas might now wish to embrace its old identity as a branch of the Sunni Muslim Brotherhood.

Hamas’s decision, if real, will take time to implement. Since its founding in 1987, the organization’s bread-and-butter stance has been armed resistance coupled with terrorist activity. Should Hamas’s leadership publicly state its new strategy, the first thing it will have to do is come up with a new charter as evidence to the world that its move is not propaganda. The organization will also need substantial help from Arab countries and others interested in such a development. The world, including the United States, will not accept Hamas’s transformation if it is half-hearted. In other words, Hamas will have to integrate its military into the security forces of the Palestinian Authority in order to get the attention and support it desires.

The implications of such a Hamas decision could be huge. Theoretically, it will create a united Palestinian front. In other words, there would be few divisions within Palestinian society to inhibit progress in negotiations with the Israelis, a major boost for the Palestinian cause. Two things remain unclear, however: how Hamas’s constituency and Israel would deal with this massive shift. It is not unreasonable to assume that Hamas would not make such a dramatic move without testing the waters and feeling the mood in the Palestinian street. Hamas knows its constituency well enough to realize that the costs it might suffer as a result of such a decision are likely to be tolerable. Furthermore, Hamas’s support base is not necessarily ideological. Many credible polls suggest that those who have voted for Hamas over the past few years have done so out of pragmatic reasons and anger toward Fatah for its governmental failures. As far as Israel is concerned, the suspicion is that moderates and those truly committed to peace and a two-state solution will be supportive of Hamas’s transformation. The hard-liners will remain critical and will always find an excuse to object. Marking its twenty-fourth anniversary this week, Hamas leaders did not even hint that they may switch strategy. They insisted instead that they will never recognize Israel. For Israeli hard-liners, this is reason enough to remain skeptical of any move by Hamas.

If Hamas actually seeks to pursue such a decision, the United States will be confronted with a crucial choice. It can lend its verbal and material support for the move and cite its concerns and reservations. Or it can stand against it and endorse whatever the Israeli government says and does on the matter. Hence, a large onus likely will rest on Washington as well as on Hamas.

Despite these hopeful pronouncements, Israel is still belligerent.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commented Sunday on the recent moves by Fatah and Hamas to set up a unity government, saying that Israel would not negotiate with the Palestinians should such a government be established.

“If Hamas joins the Palestinian government we will not hold negotiations with the Palestinian Authority,” said Netanyahu in a speech at a conference for Israeli ambassadors.

So it would appear, despite claims to the contrary, Israel is the impediment to peace in the region.  Because it is the most well equipped militarily and the most aggressive in incursions onto its neighbors territories, one should expect there will be more bloodshed and death at the hands of this recalcitrant US ally.

A Christian Cleric’s Response to a Christian’s burning of Qurans


Hat tip


Respected Pastor Terry Jones,

I have read your worldwide call for the burning of the Quran on this coming 11th of September. Your message stated that you are a pastor of one of the churches in Florida in the United States of America.

As an Arab Catholic priest from Damascus (Syria), I wondered what would be your objective, as an American pastor, for such a call?

I wondered, and I ask you: What are your responsibilities as a pastor?
Are you really a Christian pastor serving God in a church in America?
Or are you merely a layperson from America who is pretending to be in the service of Christ?

Did you give in to your nationalism (Americanism) rather than giving in to your Christianity?

What is your aim with that call?

(Do you wish) to further fuel hatred among people? Is that consistent with (the teachings of) Jesus, whom you represent in your eyes and the eyes of many others?
Tell me, is there in the character of Jesus, in his words or in his actions anything that would remotely justify even a hint of promoting disdain and hatred among people?

Have you forgotten that Jesus was completely for love, forgiveness and peace? Have you forgotten what he taught us when he told his disciples and the people after them to tell God the heavenly Father of all to “forgive us our sins as we forgive those who wrong us”? You overlooked or forgot that when Jesus was hanging on the cross and being subjected to insults and vile words, he raised his voice, saying, “O Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Who, then, do you represent or who are you trying to guide with this call of yours?

Isn’t it enough what has been happening since September 11, 2001: the killing, destruction, displacement and starvation of hundreds of millions of people throughout the world, from Palestine – the land of Jesus – by your leaders in particular, headed by George Bush, who was claiming direct communication with God?

Wouldn’t you agree with me that with your call (to burn the Quran), you have demonstrated that you are really unfamiliar with Jesus and that you desperately need to re-discover him again to be a true Christian pastor who calls, like Jesus, for the comprehensive love and full respect for every human being and a commitment to the full and wonderful teachings that call upon all believers, without exception, to always stand beside the poor, the oppressed and the disadvantaged?

My brother Pastor Terry Jones. Can you tell me, honestly, if Jesus came today, whose side would he take?

Is it the side of the powerful and arrogant oppressors who dominate the world and endlessly plunder its resources, violate its laws and international treaties, and kill people in their countries and destroy houses on top of their owners and turn them into refugees across the earth? Or is it the side of those who are oppressed, the disadvantaged, hungry, and homeless?

Did you forget what Jesus himself would say on the Day of Judgment to each person in front of him: “All that you did to one of my brothers, you actually did to me”?

I wonder if you have overlooked or forgotten that Jesus did not point in that speech on the Day of Judgment to the religion of any of those mistreated persons. He only referred to everyone as belonging to the human race and to his standing with the deprived, the weak, and the oppressed in this world.

So how could you as an American Christian pastor stand with the oppressors from your country whose injustice has spread around the world?

Aren’t you afraid of when you appear before Jesus on Judgment Day and you are burdened with a heavy conscience, like your leaders who are blinded by the gods of power, money, control and greed?

My brother Pastor Terry. Do you think I am being unfair if I conclude that your hatred toward Islam is what drove you to such a reprehensible call for the burning of Islam’s holy book, the Quran?

But let me ask you, as a Syrian Roman Catholic priest: What do you know about Islam? It appears to me from your call to burn the Quran that you are ignorant of Christ and Christianity, and that makes me believe that you are also ignorant of Islam and Muslims.

Believe me, it is not my intention to indict you and it is not my intention to engage with you in a religious debate about Christianity or Islam. However, after I prayed for a long time, let me suggest for both of us to make a joint effort on this coming September 11.

You might ask me what effort can we do jointly when you are in Florida and I’m in Damascus?

He is my suggestion.

I invite you to visit Syria, where you will be my guest and the guest of many of my Muslim and Christian friends. Syria is a country populated mostly by Muslims and in which Christians are indigenous to the land and have lived side-by-side with Muslims for centuries and centuries.

Come and don’t worry about anything.

Come and you will find out about Islam and Muslims what will comfort you, please you, surprise you, and even lead you, from where you are today in Florida, to invite all people to live in respect, love and cooperation among all people.

This is what people need rather than the un-Christian call to fuel the sentiment of hatred and division.

Come to Syria and you will be amazed by the good nature of people and their faith, their relations, friendly cooperation and openness toward all strangers.

Come to Damascus to witness and live an experience that is not in your mind nor the mind or expectation of all the churches of the West or their bishops, pastors, and clergymen.

Come to see and hear two choruses, Christian and Muslim, singing together during Christian and Islamic holidays to praise Allah, the One God, who created us all, and to whom we all return.

My brother Pastor Terry.

I call you my brother and I am serious about calling you brother and about my invitation to you. I await a word (of reply) from you. Trust me that you will find a brother in Damascus, actually many brothers.

Please contact me and don’t delay. I am waiting for you in Damascus.

I ask God to make our anticipated meeting the beginning of a long and interesting path that we undertake together with other brothers in Damascus and around the world.

How desperate is the need of our world for bright roads.

Come, the road to Damascus is waiting for you.

Father Elias Zahlawi

More Veil News


There are only a very few people who are acting responsibly concerning the veil worn by some Muslim women especially in European countries.  Caroline Spelman, a Conservative Party member in the UK is one of them.  While I don’t know much about the Conservative Party in England, if it’s anything like American Conservatives, this woman, Spelman is quite progressive in her thinking.

“I don’t, living in this country as a woman, want to be told what I can and can’t wear.“One of the things we pride ourselves on in this country is being free, and being free to choose what you wear is a part of that, so actually banning the burka is absolutely contrary I think to what this country is all about.

“I’ve been out to Afghanistan and I think I understand much better as a result of actually visiting why a lot of Muslim women want to wear the burka.

“It is part of their culture, it is part of understanding that they choose to go out in the burka and I think those that live in this country, if they choose to wear a burka, should be free to do so.

“You have to understand the actual culture and it was probably only when I went there and spent some time amongst women that I really understood that for them it’s a choice.

“For them the burka confers dignity, it’s their choice, they choose to go out dressed in a burka and I understand that it is a different culture from mine but the fact is in this country women want to be free to choose whether or not to cover their heads, whether or not to go out in the morning wearing a burka, that’s for them.

“We are a free country, we attach importance to people being free, and for a woman it is empowering to be able to choose each morning when you wake up what you wear.”

It goes without saying she’s been slammed by members of her own party, but the essence of what she’s saying, the freedom to choose shouldn’t be lost on those secular countries that say the same thing about a woman’s right to choose whether to have an abortion, for example, or what career she aspires to, etc.

For Muslim women living in the West who would like to wear the face veil or niqab who have any reservations or doubts about doing so comes this word from the primeval Islamic source, Saudi Arabia

if Muslim women are in a country that has banned the niqab, or full-face veil, or if they face harassment in such a place, “it is better that the Muslim woman uncovers her face.”

Numerous scholars of various Islamic schools of thought agree on this point, Qarni said.

But he, Qarni, is not the only one saying this.  Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, has made similar pronouncements, and there is spirited discussion on Muslim forums about this issue.  Of course given the opportunity, most governments would love to define their constituents in the manner that is appealing to the majority or that would ensure government office holders remain in power…and “choice” really has nothing to do with that, it’s consensus or expediency that matters.  This is the attitude of western secular countries that tout one type of choice for women that is liked by a majority of them….abortion for example, but deny another type of choice not so popular.  Muslim countries don’t consider choice at all; rather it’s tradition that carries the day.  In traditional Muslim countries, it is up to women themselves to make their case for their choices and most likely it will have to start from the top down.  Grass root movements simply don’t exist in many traditional countries. What is most interesting to this observer is  two prominent Muslim countries, most notably Syria and Egypt, have said the niqab is not allowed either in public or by woman who work in government jobs, thereby placing themselves on equal footing with their brethren governments from the West; common ground found on the backs of women’s rights or lack thereof.  Sad.