The following are selected MEMRI TV clips from The Reform Project in 2019.
Egyptian-American political analyst Magdi Khalil said in a video that was uploaded to the Internet on March 13, 2019 that the Arab people are still angry and that tremendous effort is being exerted to oppress them and prevent another wave of the Arab Spring. Khalil said, however, that another wave of the Arab Spring is inevitable, whether it happens tomorrow or in 20 years. Khalil explained that Islam, in addition to Arabic and Bedouin culture, is a significant factor in the Middle East that might delay the second wave of the Arab Spring because it is incompatible and runs contrary to democracy, liberty, human dignity, human rights, and religious freedom.
#7242 – Liberal Kuwaiti Activist Nasser Dashti: We Need Cultural, Secular Reform; Western Societies Are Better Than Ours Because They Admit Their Failures, Learn Through Self-Criticism
Liberal Kuwaiti activist Nasser Dashti said in a March 21, 2019 interview on Al-Rawdatain TV (Kuwait) that reform cannot be political and that it must be cultural. He said reform begins with education, media, the spreading of secular culture, and confrontation of those who oppose secularism through debate. Dashti added that secular societies openly own up to their mistakes and develop through experience and self-criticism. He said: "The difference between us and them is that we hide [our failures] from the media." Dashti criticized religion for encouraging people against art, for dividing the family, for destroying countries, and for turning people against scientific research by forcing them to accept the "cartoon-like stories" found in religious texts.
#7512 – Lebanese TV Host Juomana Haddad On Racism In The Arab World: We Are Tenth, Not Third, World; We're Wallowing In Our Own Backwardness
Lebanese TV host Joumana Haddad said in a September 19, 2019 monologue on Al-Hurra TV (U.S.) that the Arabs are a racist people who lack human and ideological awareness. She criticized the Arab nation for looking down upon other races and nationalities and for not seeing anything shameful about its racism. She said that Arab countries legally condone racism and forms of human trafficking, slavery, and systematic humiliation, and that the Arab countries are "wallowing" in their backward past. In addition, Haddad said that it is human advancement, interest in culture, and intellectuality that determines the value of a country, rather than how many skyscrapers a country has, and added: "We do not belong to the third world, but to the tenth world."
#7424 – Iraqi Scholar Dr. Abdul Jabbar Al-Rifaee: Muslims' Small Contribution to Modern Sciences Is an Indication That We Must Re-Examine Our Heritage
Iraqi scholar Dr. Abdul Jabbar Al-Rifaee said in an August 7, 2019 interview on Al-Araby TV (U.K.) that modern sciences have been developing for 500 years in many fields, and he asked how much of the contribution to this has come from the Islamic world. Giving the example of the Nobel Prize, which he explained has been given to hundreds of people over the past 100 years or so, Al-Rifaee pointed out that very few of the Nobel Prize recipients have been Muslim, particularly when one considers how large the Muslim population is in the world. Al-Rifaee said that the problem lies in Muslims' historical memory, which he said is suffocating them, and he said: "I am not calling to erase or cancel our heritage. However, we must examine heritage through the lens of the [modern] age."
#7391 – Egyptian Philosopher Mourad Wahba: Our Children Grow Up Fearing Wisdom Because We Shame Them For Thinking About Taboo Subjects
Egyptian philosopher Mourad Wahba said in a July 21, 2019 interview on Extra News TV (Egypt) that children in the East are shamed for questioning what they learn and for asking questions, while children in the West are taught that they can question anything. He said that the Western mind is therefore free from a young age while the Eastern mind is shackled by culturally taboo subjects. Wahba said that Eastern children are afraid of wisdom and of using their brain, and that they instead choose to avoid questioning things that they have been told are wrong. He added that the education system in the East is continuing this process by making more subjects taboo.
#7083 – Syrian Scholar Firas Al-Sawwah: Al-Aqsa Mentioned In Quran Is Not In Jerusalem; We Should Critically Examine Our Past And Some Of Our Religious Traditions
Syrian scholar Firas Al-Sawwah said in a March 3, 2019 interview on Al-Hurra TV (U.S.) that the Al-Aqsa Mosque that was mentioned in the Quran was not in Jerusalem, and that the caliph Abd Al-Malik Ibn Marwan had decided to build a holy place in Jerusalem and call it Al-Aqsa. He said that a general Arab-Muslim cultural revival that would include a critical review of Arab and Muslim history is necessary. Al-Sawwah also said that the hadiths should be critically examined to determine which ones are true and which are false, and he recalled having laughed in eighth grade when the teacher taught the class the hadith about the trees and rocks calling Muslims to kill Jews hiding behind them. He explained that the class laughed because they had been "raised on modern thought" and it made no sense to them that trees or rocks would speak.
#7063 – Tunisian Minority Rights Activist Yamina Thabet Criticizes Tunisian Constitution, Education System For Ignoring Jews And Christians, Says Homosexuals Are Imprisoned, Tortured
During a February 15, 2019 show on BBC Arabic (U.K.), Yamina Thabet, the head of the Tunisian Association for Support of Minorities, criticized Tunisian education curricula for omitting mentions of Tunisian Christianity or Jewry and said that it is because the Tunisian constitution defines Tunisian identity as Muslim. She also said that constitutionally-guaranteed rights to privacy are violated in order to verify people's sexual orientation, explaining that homosexuals are imprisoned for three years. To see more from Yamina Thabet, see MEMRI TV Clips Nos. 3998 and 5221.
#7172 – Egyptian Journalist Ibrahim Eissa: Islamic Terrorism Will End Only When Muslims Stop Trying To Restore Their Past
On April 14, 2019, Ibrahim Issa discussed Islamic terrorism in a monologue on his talk show, which is aired on the American Al-Hurra TV. Ibrahim Issa said that ISIS, Al-Qaeda, terrorism, and extremism will only come to an end if Muslims get rid of the "black triangle." This "black triangle," described by Issa, is comprised of three edges. The first edge is "the undisputed belief, held by Muslims in general, that their past was a dream come true, an age of angels and glory." The second edge is the belief held by "most Muslims" that this golden age must be restored. The third edge is the belief held by "some Muslims" that this past must be restored even at the price of "violence, coercion, cruelty, brutality, swords, and bombs." He concluded by saying that the only way to get rid of this triangle is for the Muslims to accept that the past was comprised of both good and bad and to make peace with the fact that "there is no need to restore that past. It is gone." "We must live our lives in our times and in our world, according to our renewed understanding of religion," he said.
#7145 – Lebanese Actress Nidal Al-Ashkar: No Freedom of Speech In The Arab World; Change Would Require Real Transformative Revolutions
Lebanese actress Nidal Al-Ashkbar said in a March 28, 2019 interview on Al-Hurra TV (U.S.) that theater is not an intrinsic part of education and culture in Lebanon in the Arab world because there is no freedom of speech or openness in the region, such that actors cannot criticize anyone or talk about religion or sex. She said that it is impossible for there to be theater in the Arab world unless real, transformative revolutions bring about democratic rule.
This clip is a compilation of videos by WaxOn Crew, a hip hop dance group based in Mukalla, Yemen, that consists of five members. The group performs wearing Guy Fawkes masks. The videos were uploaded to WaxOn Crew's YouTube video between July 14 and November 30, 2018, and include a performance at an event titled "Our Art is Peace", which was held by Meemz Art for Change. The following was written at the end of the video of the Meemz performance: "Seeing the effects of our art and how it touches the hearts of the people is the most powerful source of motivation, despite the obstacles." This clip also includes a flash mob performance at the Mukalla mall, a performance at a carnival in Hadhramaut, Yemen, and a "dance vlog" featuring the group members at the beach. In December 2018, the group was briefly detained by Yemeni security forces, who also broke their equipment. The group members were only released after they had signed a document stating that they would stop dancing in public, and they later reported to Reuters that the security officers had said that their dancing was a religious sin, and that they had been treated as if they were terrorists.
#7188 – Egyptian-German Scholar Hamed Abdel-Samad: Islamic Extremism Stems From The Core Of Islam; Tens Of Thousands Of ISIS Supporters Live Among Us
Egyptian-German scholar Hamed Abdel-Samad said that Islamic extremism and terrorism stems from the "core of Islam" – from its texts, its history of conquests, its founder, and its ideology – and that the problem does not lie only with the returning ISIS members, but with the "multiple layers of radicalization," with which the governmental and Islamic structures are not equipped to deal.
#7006 – Kahina Bahloul, Future Imam Of First Mixed-Gender Paris Mosque: We Will Welcome Unveiled Women, Homosexuals
French Islamic studies researcher and founder of the group "Talk to Me About Islam" Kahina Bahloul was interviewed on France 24 Arabic channel on February 8, 2019. Bahloul will be leading prayers in Paris' first mixed-gender mosque, and she said that the mosque will allow women to choose whether they wear a hijab or not because of the belief that "there is no place for coercion in Islam." She added that homosexuals will also be welcome because the sexual orientation of mosque members is a personal issue. She called for a "re-evaluation of history" and added that it is time for women in Islam to have a say about religious interpretations.
#7014 – Lebanese Philosopher Dr. Ali Harb: Colonialism Brought Arabs Out Of Middle Ages Into Modernity; We Need To Change How We See The World
Lebanese philosopher Dr. Ali Harb was featured in a two-part series on Al-Hurra TV (U.S.) that aired on February 3 and 10, 2019. He said that while colonialism had its drawbacks, it created great opportunities for the Arab world and Arab societies to join modernity and emerge out of the Middle Ages. He said that Pan-Arabism, left-wing thought, and other ideologies caused an overall decrease of freedom in Arab societies relative to the era of liberalism and enlightenment, and that the return of religion brought about the hijab, civil wars, the age of terrorism, and the return of colonialism. Dr. Harb said that the Arab world does not produce knowledge or participate in the creation of civilization and added that Arabs needs to change the way they think, see the world, and deal with their heritage and religion.
On October 25, 2019, Saudi Arabia’s MBC TV aired a report about female construction workers. The report tells the story of three Saudi sisters who work in construction. According to the sisters they initially faced many obstacles from society but have now surmounted them and have become successful. They expressed a hope that this enterprise will be a benefit to Saudi society.
#7571 – Former Kuwaiti Information Minister Sami Abdullatif Al-Nesf: Arabs Should Stop Accusing British Colonialism of Preventing Arab Unity; We Are The Ones Who Failed To Unite After Sykes-Picot Agreement; Pan-Arab Historians Are Liars
Former Kuwaiti Minister of Information Sami Abdullatif Al-Nesf said in an October 23, 2019 interview on Diwan Al-Mullah Internet TV (Kuwait) that the Arabs gained Mosul, South Sudan, and other territories from the British as part of the Sykes-Picot Agreement and that Arabs should stop accusing the British and British colonialism of having prevented Arab unity. He said that it was the Arabs themselves who failed to unite and that the Arabs should similarly stop blaming the Balfour Declaration for the establishment of Israel, which he said was ultimately established as a result of WWII and the actions of Hajj Amin Al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem between 1917 and 1947, who he accused of never having made a correct decision. In addition, Al-Nesf said that since the British started abandoning colonialism after 1945, any praise of post-1945 Arab “heroes” who fought off British colonialism is nonsense. He further said that Arabs are generally ignorant about history and that Arab historians are liars who fabricate history and twist shameful events into victories for the Arabs. He added that the Middle East has become the “sick man of the world.”
#7566 – "Supporting Women Against Violence" Campaign By Gazan Women Who Had Been Victims Of Domestic Violence Strives To Spread Awareness, Encourages Women To Stand Up For Themselves
On October 10, 2019, Ehna Internet TV (Israel) aired a report about “Supporting Women against Violence,” a campaign against domestic violence that was held by Gazan women. At a campaign event, several women wore wedding dresses and make up that made them look like they had bruises, black eyes, and bloody lips as a result of domestic abuse. A campaign participant named Marwa, who was interviewed, said that she used to be beaten by her husband’s family and encouraged women who are experiencing similar abuse to act with courage and stand up for themselves. Hiba Al-Hindi, the Director of the Palestinian Pioneers Cultural Center and the organizer of the event, said that the campaign is the first of its kind in Palestine and that it was organized with the help of volunteers, some of whom she said had been victims of domestic violence. The event also featured a performance by artist Mohammed Aldairi, who drew a picture of Israa Ghrayeb, a Palestinian girl who had been tortured and murdered by her family. The reporter said: “[The women of the campaign] strive to spread the culture of fighting violence, which reflects on society as a whole.”
#7562 – Iraqi Catholic Patriarch Louis Raphaël I Sako: Iraqi School Curricula Should Be Rewritten, Made More Tolerant Of Other Religions; Christians In Iraq Are Discriminated Against
Louis Raphaël I Sako, the Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Babylon, said in an October 18, 2019 interview on Sharqiya News TV (Iraq) that Iraqi school curricula that speak ill of Jews and Christians should be rewritten entirely to discuss comradery, citizenship, and respect towards other religions. When asked about Christian militias that fought against ISIS, Sako said that there are no militias fighting on behalf of Christianity and that he had asked leaders in the PMU to prevent Christian parts of the PMU from identifying themselves as Christian. He expressed opposition to Christians taking up arms and fighting in the name of Christianity. In addition, Sako said that Christians in Iraq and Nineveh have been very hurt by Islamic terrorism in the region and that they are broken, unhappy, and discriminated against by the state and employers.
#7552 – Lebanese Constitutional Expert Chibli Mallat: We Should Place Our Heads Of State On Trial; Next PM Can Be A Woman
Lebanese constitutional expert Chibli Mallat said in an October 25, 2019 interview on OTV (Lebanon) that the Taif Agreement, which required that Lebanon's three heads of state be representatives of the Sunni, Shi'ite, and Maronite communities, should be abolished and replaced with a government that is based on what it is capable of achieving. As the audience cheered "Revolution!", Mallat cited Robespierre in calling for revolution and added: "Is this or is this not a revolution?" Mallat said that he is proud of Lebanon's constitution, which he described as the most profound in the East, and pointed out that all other constitutions in the region had been abolished by militaries, sectarianism, or Iran's mullahs. He called to topple Lebanon's regime and place its heads of state on trial. Mallat also said that there is no reason why the next prime minister of Lebanon couldn't be a woman. The studio audience cheered in support of Mallat and his statements.
#7545 – Egyptian Dissident Mohamed Ali Criticizes Military's Involvement In Egypt's Economy, Civilian Industries: In Egypt, The Military Owns The People
Egyptian dissident political activist Mohamed Ali, who resides in Spain, said in an October 23, 2019 interview on BBC Arabic (U.K.) that Egypt should not be under military rule as it is today and that the role of the military should be limited to protecting the country's borders. He criticized the Egyptian military's involvement in the economy and civilian industries and said that the people have no option but to work for the military. Ali said: "Every country in the world owns a military, but only in Egypt, the military owns the people."
#7542 – Moroccan MP Omar Balafrej: We Must Not Criminalize Intimate Relations Between Consenting Adults, Including Homosexuals; The State Is Suffocating People's Personal Liberties
In an October 3, 2019 interview on Hespress Internet TV (Morocco), Moroccan MP Omar Balafrej said that Morocco should follow the example of Turkey and certain other countries and not criminalize intimate relations between consenting adults, including homosexuals, because the state should respect individual privacy. In addition, Balafrej said that the punishment for pedophilia should be very severe and that he views child rape to be equivalent to murder. In an October 11, 2019 interview on France 24 Arabic TV, Balafrej criticized Morocco for suffocating people's liberties. He argued that many middle- and upper-class young people leave Morocco because of the lack of personal and collective liberties.
#7642 – Berlin-Based Syrian-Kurdish Academic Jian Omar: The Arabs' Enmity Towards Israel Has Been A Waste Of Time And Resources; Pan-Arab, Islamist, Religious Parties Mislead The People; Arabs Need Sensible Government That Will Improve Their Lives
In a November 19, 2019 show on Al-Jazeera Network (Qatar), Syrian-Kurdish academic Jian Omar discussed Arab attitudes towards Israel and the West with TV host Faisal Al-Qassem. Al-Qassem said that Israel and the U.S. removed Austrian politician Jörg Haider from power and assassinated him because of statements that they had considered to be antisemitic, and he argued that this shows Israel would never allow the Arab countries to be ruled democratically. Omar rebutted by questioning the Arabs’ enmity towards Israel and by saying that the Arabs’ 80-year long mobilization against Israel has been a waste of time and resources that hasn’t benefited the Palestinian people. He said that Israeli Arabs enjoy more rights than all other Arabs put together and criticized the view that Israel is omnipotent. Omar went on to criticize pan-Arab, Islamist, and religious political parties for selling “shiny” slogans to Arabs and sending people on a Jihad against America, Israel, Zionism, the West, imperialism and capitalism despite the fact that the West leads the world in science and technology. Omar argued that the Arabs need to find a political elite and a sensible government that would improve their livelihood. Jian Omar is based in Berlin.
#7612 – Iranians Protest In The Wake Of Increase In Fuel Prices, Burn Police Vehicles, Throw Stones At Policemen, Chant: Death To Khamenei, Death To The Dictator!
Numerous videos were uploaded to the Internet depicting the November 2019 protests in Iran in the wake of an increase in fuel prices. The protesters chanted "Death to you Khamenei!", "Death to the dictator!", and "Oh Shah of Iran, come back to Iran!" in the streets. People also burned pictures of Khamenei, burned police buildings and vehicles, and confronted riot police, in some cases by throwing stones at them and cursing them. In one video, a man shouted at a police officer: "Sir, are you not with the people?" In another video, a woman stood on a bridge cursed Supreme Leader Khamenei, Imam Khomeini, and the Iranian government as people cheered her on.
#7513 – Woman At Entrance To Hospital In Shiraz, Iran: We Are Hungry, Need Medicine; To Hell With Our Leaders; Khamenei's Time Is Up, He Should Go Meet His Maker
On October 1, 2019, a video of a woman at the entrance to a hospital in Shiraz, Iran was uploaded to the Internet. Encouraging others to join her in protest, the woman shouted: "My child is hungry [and] our people are hungry... [Our leaders] are thieves [and] they should leave this country... To hell with them... I have diabetes and I can't get my medicine... Mr. Khamenei, your expiration date has come and gone. Go meet your Maker."
#7539 – Lebanese TV Host Samar Abou Khalil Accuses Government Of Depravity, Corruption, Blames It For Poverty, Unemployment In Lebanon
In an October 16, 2019 show on Al-Jadeed/New TV (Lebanon), Lebanese TV host Samar Abou Khalil criticized the Lebanese government and accused it of political depravity, corruption, theft, robbery, and exploitation of the Lebanese people. She said that the state of anarchy is causing Lebanon to regress and that the Lebanese people are poor, naked, thirsty, hungry, and unemployed. Abou Khalil's comments were made against the backdrop of uproar over fires that raged in Lebanon.
#7480 – France-Based Iranian Opposition Activist Dr. Mahmoud Moradkhani, Who Is Khamenei's Nephew: Iran Is Responsible For Extremism In The World; The Opposition Must Unite To Bring Change
Dr. Mahmoud Moradkhani, a France-based Iranian opposition activist who is Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's nephew, said in a September 8, 2019 interview on Alan TV (UAE) that the leaders of the Iranian regime are responsible for the presence of extremists in the Middle East and in the world. He said that he opposes the "religious democracy" that the Rule of the Jurisprudent claims to espouse because it means that one man has tyrannical control over both civil and religious life in the country. In addition, Dr. Moradkhani said that elections in Iran are meaningless, that Iran has essentially become a Russian colony, and that Iran has been exhausting the resources of the region by plundering oil and spending huge sums of money on weapons. He further expressed disappointment that the opposition in Iran is unable to unite, and he said that it should not "sit and wait for a miracle to bring change."
#7464 – Sudanese Religious Affairs Minister Nasr Al-Din Mufreh Invites Jews Who Have Left Sudan To Return, Reclaim Their Citizenship
Nasr Al-Din Mufreh, Sudan's Minister of Religious Affairs, said in a September 7, 2019 interview on Al-Arabiya Network (Saudi Arabia) that Sudan is pluralistic in its views, values, cultures, ideologies, Islamic schools of thought, and religions, and he called upon Jewish minorities that may have left Sudan to reclaim their Sudanese citizenship and return to the country, which he pointed out is now ruled by secular law. On a same-day interview on Sudania 24 TV, Sudanese writer Haidar Al-Mukashafi said that the Jewish presence in Sudan dates back over a century, and he said that this may be evidenced by a rumor in the Sudanese city of Merow that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was born and raised in Sudan. Al-Mukashafi said that Jews and other minorities may return to Sudan if reforms take place and if there are incentives to do so.
#7450 – Lebanese Politician Elie Mahfoud: Who Rules Lebanon? Lebanon's Leaders Are Waiting To Hear Whether Nasrallah Declares War Or Not
Elie Mahfoud, the leader of the Lebanese Movement for Democratic Change, said in an August 25, 2019 interview on Al-Arabiya TV (Saudi Arabia) that everybody in Lebanon wants to know who rules over Lebanon and who holds the power to make decisions. Mahfoud said that the current anarchic state of affairs in which Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah has the power to declare war cannot continue, and he said that Lebanon's military is perfectly capable of defending Lebanon and its borders. Mahfoud warned that if the Lebanese government does not take initiative, then the situation in Lebanon will decline to an even worse situation than during the 2006 Israel-Lebanon War, and he emphasized that Lebanon suffered much heavier losses and destruction during that war than Israel did, despite Hizbullah's celebration of the war as a victory. In addition, Mahfoud said that Iran's militant activity in the Middle East is a "sad joke" because there hasn't been a single military operation against Israel, and he said that the Lebanese are "exploiting and riding the horse of the Palestinian Cause" while actually harming the Palestinians and giving Israel more excuses to sow ruin and destruction in the entire region. Mahfoud's remarks were made in light of Hassan Nasrallah's recent speech in which he said Hizbullah will engage Israeli drones flying in Lebanese airspace (see MEMRI TV Clip No. 7439).
#7410 – Egyptian Actress Shereen Reda: We Are Causing Our Children Psychological Harm By Ritually Slaughtering Sheep In The Streets; Loud Call To Prayer Harms Tourism, Scares Kids (Archival)
Egyptian actress Shereen Reda said in a December 22, 2017 interview on ON TV (Egypt) that the call the prayer in Egypt should be "unified" because the bellowing of the muezzin at the early hours of the morning scares children and negatively affects tourism. She also expressed criticism of the custom of slaughtering a sheep on Eid Al-Adha and the fact that children can see the blood, saying: "What kind of customs are these? And then we wonder why our children turn out to be violent." She added that letting the children play with a sheep and then slaughtering it a few days later causes psychological harm to the children.
#7397 – Sudanese Writer Hajj Al Warraq: "Cancerous Religious Zeal" Is Killing Creativity And Freedom Of Thought; This Will Lead To The Slitting Of Throats
Sudanese writer Hajj Al-Warraq, the editor-in-chief of the Sudanese newspaper, Horiyat, said in a July 23, 2019 interview on Alghad TV (U.K.) that "cancerous religious zeal" has been growing and that it has been trying to kill creativity, arts, politics, and science. He criticized the religious leaders for banning freedom of thought, freedom of conscience, and public discourse. Al-Warraq gave the example of Season of Migration to the North, a book by Sudanese author Tayeb Salih, saying that it is banned in Sudan, and he warned: "People who start burning books always end up burning people... They think they have a monopoly over religious truth... [This] will eventually lead to the slitting of throats." Al-Warraq added that the issue is much more dangerous than it seems.
#7250 – Syrian Intellectual Hashem Saleh: Muslim Brotherhood Is Most Dangerous Group In Islam's History, "Mother" Of Radical Groups Like ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Taliban; This Ideology Must Be Abandoned
Syrian intellectual Hashem Saleh said in an April 19, 2019 interview on Sky News Arabia TV (Abu Dhabi) that the Enlightenment was a reaction to the evil of sectarian wars – without which he said people would not have dared to question religion – and that he hopes ISIS, Al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood, and other radical Islamic groups will end up sparking a similar enlightenment for the Arab and Muslim world in the coming years. He said that the biggest problem facing Arabs and Muslims is a "theological problem" and that he considers the Muslim Brotherhood, which he described as the "mother" of other radical groups like ISIS, Al-Qaeda, and the Taliban, to be the most dangerous group in the history of Islam. He added that Arab civilization must abandon the Muslim Brotherhood and its ideology so that it can "rise anew."
#7233 – Fmr. Egyptian Culture Minister Gaber Asfour: We Are Facing A Cultural Catastrophe; Religious Renewal Is Necessary, Should Involve Dialogue With Secular Scholars
Former Egyptian Minister of Culture Gaber Asfour said in a May 2, 2019 interview on Ten TV (Egypt) that Egyptian culture is in a "state of crisis" and is heading towards the worst and most dangerous "cultural catastrophe" it has ever seen. He said that this may be a result of what he described as a radical change that took place in the 1970s, in which he said Egyptian culture turned from liberalism and openness to a closed culture influenced by religion. Asfour pointed out that the Egyptian constitution says that the shari'a is the principle source of legislation and that it protects Al-Azhar University, and he said that education, culture, and the renewal of religious discourse – which he suggested should include "long and deep dialogues" with secular scholars – are matters of national security. He also said that Egypt is facing a population explosion because of a religious hadith that encourages marriage and having children.
#7156 – Omani Journalist Salem Bin Hamad Al-Jahwari: Israel Is A reality, Arabs And Israelis Must Negotiate Their Future Together
Omani journalist Salem bin Hamad Al-Jahwari, deputy head of the Omani Journalists Association, was interviewed on Russia Today TV. Al-Jahwari referred to a statement by Yusuf bin Alawi the Omani Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs, who had said that the Arab nations must reassure Israel that they do not pose a threat to its existence. Al-Jahwari said that the minister "wanted to clarify that it is time for the Arabs and the Israelis to sit together, in order to negotiate about what is to come." Al-Jahwari added: "Today, Israel is part of this region, whether or not the Arabs recognize it." Al-Jahwari said that the Arab leaders are neighbors of Israel, "they are familiar with Israeli mentality." They know that Israel is stalling for time "taking advantage of their territorial expansion." He concluded by stating that the existence of Israel is a reality. The interview was aired on April 7, 2019.
#7154 – Jordanian Activist Reem Abu Hassan During Debate On Child Marriage: People Shouldn't Have More Kids Than They Can Afford To Support
In a January 28, 2019 debate on Al-Mamlaka TV (Jordan) about underage marriage, Reem Abu Hassan, the Honorary President of the Institute for the Defense of Victims of Family Violence, said that people shouldn't have many kids if they can't afford to treat them all fairly, and that daughters shouldn't be married off in order to enable the sons to become engineers because the needs of the sons shouldn't come at the expense of the daughters.
#7438 – Arab-American Researchers: Arab Narratives About Zionism Are False; Israel Is The Most Successful Country In The ME; Instead Of Establishing Palestine, Arabs Tried To Erase Israel
Syrian-American human rights activist Ammar Abdulhamid and Egyptian-American researcher Samuel Tadros discussed Zionism and Israel on an August 15, 2019 show on Al-Hurra TV (United States). Ammar Abdulhamid said that there is a colonialist-imperialist streak in all civilizations and this means that the colonialist aspects of Zionism are not unique. He argued that the Arabs have become nihilistic with regard to Israel because they focused on annihilating Israel instead of building a Palestinian state right from the start. He also said that one cannot ignore the role that Arab Jews played in Israel's establishment and the fact that they did so in order to escape persecution by Muslim Arabs. In addition, Abdulhamid pointed out that the West was not always supportive of Israel, despite Arab claims that the West planted Israel as a foreign cancer in the Middle East. He added that Israel is the most successful and most stable country in the Middle East and it would make no sense for Israel to be annihilated while unstable countries like Egypt and Syria survived.
#7389 – Iraqi TV Host Mahdi Jassem Reads Text By Syrian Poet: For 1,400 Years We Have Been Cursing The Jews And Christians, But We Are The Ones Left Without Unity
In a July 21, 2019 show on ANB TV (Iraq), Iraqi TV host Mahdi Jassem read a text from the late Syrian poet Muhammad Al-Maghut. The text was highly critical of Islam and Islamic scholars, and it questioned why Muslims are still expected to behave in the exact same way the progenitors of Islam behaved 1,400 years ago. Jassem read: "After 1,400 years of cursing the Jews and the Christians, [Muslims] are the ones left with no unity [and] it is only Muslim women who have been enslaved... Oh nation in slumber, the people you curse [have gone to] the Moon [and] split the atom... Meanwhile, for you, the only thing on the rise is your genitalia." The text continued to criticize Muslims for studying outlandish things such as sexual Jihad, incest, breastfeeding of grown men, having "farewell sex" with one's deceased wife, and how to properly have sex with animals. The text went on: "Don't our minds have the right to be influenced by the knowledge, science, and technology that surround us? Must our minds be held captive after 1,400 years?"
#7301 – Egyptian Reformist Islam Behery: Terrorism Did Not Begin With Muslim Brotherhood; ISIS-Like Ideology Existed In Islamic Caliphates
Egyptian reformist intellectual Islam Behery said in a June 6, 2019 show on Al-Hurra TV (U.S.) that Islamic terrorism did not begin with Hassan Al-Banna and the establishment of the Muslim Brotherhood in 1928. Rather, Behery argued that terrorist ideology had been present in the Islamic caliphates that had existed up until then, which he described as terrorist states. Behery argued that the caliphates had perpetrated the same crimes perpetrated by ISIS, such as burning people, raping slave-girls, accusing people of heresy, and aiming to establish a global Islamic state. He also said that the Armenian genocide perpetrated by the Ottomans had been an example of this terrorism. Behery said that Hassan Al-Banna and the Muslim Brotherhood were part of a new era of terrorism that emerged after the fall of Islamic establishments.
#7269 – Assistant Chairman Of Iraqi PMU Thamir Al-Tamimi: Political Islam Destroyed Iraq, Which Can Only Be Ruled By Secularism, Separation Of Religion And State
Thamir Al-Tamimi "Abu Azzam," the Assistant Chairman of the Iraqi PMU, said in a May 21, 2019 interview on Samarra TV (Iraq) that today's religious extremism is a result of Islamic movements and the political Islam that started to spread in the 1990s. He said that Islamic ideology that mixes religious and state affairs has destroyed Iraq, and that, even as a religious man, he believes that only secular ideology and a separation of religion and state is good for heterogeneous countries like Iraq. Abu Azzam also said that the Iraqi system needs to be completely restructured and that the country needs to be "rescued" from fragmentation, foot-dragging and corruption because it has completely disintegrated.
#7229 – 'Moroccan Infidel' Presents 'The Myths Of Religions' Song: We Are All Born Free And Then Become Like Sheep
Hicham Nostik, who goes by the Internet identity of "Moroccan infidel," posted a song titled “The Myths of Religions” on his YouTube channel on March 14. The song, sung by Suraqa, castigates all religions as “worthless obsolete ideas” and “miracles and fables.” “We are all born free, and then we become like sheep,” goes the song, ending with the question: “When will we say ‘no’ to the myths of the religions?” The German-based Nostik, a former radical Islamist, recounted his transformation in a 2018 interview with Hamed Abdel-Samad.
#7123 – Egyptian-German Scholar Hamed Abdel-Samad In Scathing Criticism Of The European Left: Racism Of Low Expectations; They Treat Muslims Like Monkeys In A Zoo
Egyptian-German scholar Hamed Abdel-Samad slammed the European left for its political correctness, saying that while historically, the left has always defended the underdog, when it comes to Islam, it "morphs into the conservative right" and employs "racism of low expectations." In the March 25 episode of his weekly "Box of Islam" Internet show, Abdel-Samad said that while the leftists "embrace and defend anything that is anti-West," they view Muslims as barbaric savages and keep them marginalized. Even when a terrorist leaves a message citing the Prophet Muhammad and the Quran as the reason for his actions, "it's to no avail. The left has him pegged as a victim," he said. "That’s pure racism. It means that they do not see Muslims or Africans as people, responsible for their own lives."