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memri
September 1, 2009 No.
49

FROM THE MEMRI NEWS BLOG: VISIT DAILY

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The following is a selection of entries from daily reports over the last two weeks, on issues ranging from Turkey, Sudan, Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, reform, jihad and terrorism, and antisemitism.

*Reform

Syria Blocks Facebook

In a move angering many, particularly young people, Syrian authorities yesterday blocked the Facebook website.

No government body has explained the meaning of the move, but observers estimate that it was motivated by fear of Israelis infiltrating the Syrian social networks being formed by site members.

Source: Al-Safir, Lebanon, November 19, 2007

http://www.thememriblog.org/blog_personal/en/3737.htm

Kuwaiti Association Protest Restrictions On Freedom Of Expression

The Kuwaiti Artists Association has launched a sit-down strike at Kuwait's book fair, demanding the removal of oversight of and restrictions on authors, thinkers, and artists in the country, as well as greater freedom of expression and creativity.

Source: Al-Jarida, Kuwait, November 18, 2007

http://www.thememriblog.org/blog_personal/en/3721.htm

Bahrain Establishes National Human Rights Authority

The Bahrain government has approved the establishment of a national human rights authority.

The authority will handle all problems relating to human rights in the country.

Source: Akhbar Al-Khaleej, Bahrain, November 15, 2007

http://www.thememriblog.org/blog_personal/en/3691.htm

Kuwaiti Education Minister Decides To Remove Islamic Books From School Libraries, Kindergartens

Kuwaiti Education Minister Nouriya Al-Sabih has decided to remove Salafist Islamic books from school libraries and kindergartens.

MPs from the Islamic bloc demanded that she repeal her decision. One, MP Faysal Al-Mesalem, said that after he spoke with Ms. Al-Sabih, she promised to return the books to the school libraries.

Source: Al-Jarida, Kuwait, November 15, 2007

http://www.thememriblog.org/blog_personal/en/3686.htm

Cartoon In Jordanian Paper and "Al-Quds Al-Arabi" On "New Sports In Egypt's Arab Olympics"

Right to left: "Freestyle Beating," "Javelin Throw," "Abusing Women."

Sources: Al-Ghad, Jordan; Al-Quds Al-Arabi, London, November 13, 2007

http://www.thememriblog.org/blog_personal/en/3663.htm

Official Study In Gulf Countries Calls For Improving Women's Status

A study by the executive bureau of the Gulf countries, submitted November 13 to labor and social affairs ministers in the Gulf countries, calls for changing the negative attitude towards women and for reforming school curricula in those countries,.

The study also calls for opening many more options for women in politics, the economy, and society, and allowing them greater involvement in legislative processes and decision-making.

Source: Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, London, November 13, 2007

http://www.thememriblog.org/blog_personal/en/3657.htm

*Turkey

In Ankara, Talk Of Peace; In Istanbul, Talk Of Jihad

Milliyet's front page headline: "Jihad call from Istanbul"

After hosting a summit with Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas three days ago in Ankara, Turkey is now hosting, in Istanbul, a giant gathering of thousands of high level representatives from hundreds of radical Islamist organizations and institutions, from Morocco to Indonesia.

The mainstream Turkish daily Milliyet reported on calls made at the meetings to fight the "judaicization" of Jerusalem and to continue the jihad against Zionist Israel until it no longer exists.

Among the participants are high-level representatives from Hamas and Hizbullah; Lebanese Jama'a Islamiya president Faisal Mawlawi; Sheikh Raid Sallah, head of the Islamic movement in Israel; Iranian presidential advisor Ayatollah Ali Akbar Mokhtashemi; former Iranian PM Sayyid Hossein Mosavi; Sheikh Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi; former Lebanese PM Salim Al-Hoss; former Egyptian PM Aziz Siddiqi; former Jerusalem mufti Ikrima Sabri; current Jerusalem Mufti Mohammed Hussein; Greek Orthodox Bishop Attallah Hanna; veteran Egyptian journalist Fahmi Huwaidi; Hossain Ahmed; Bishop Desmond Tutu, OIC Sec. Gen. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu; and British MP George Galloway.

Turkish prime ministerial advisor Nabi Avci and AKP MP Nevzat Yalcintas were among Turkey's representatives, seated in the front row.

The delegates declared participation in the planned Annapolis peace conference haram, alleging that the U.S. initiative was aimed at eliminating Palestine.

Former Egyptian PM Aziz Siddiqi said in his speech that conferences would not help, and that what was taken by force should be reclaimed by force.

In his speech, British MP Galloway praised the heroic fighters raised by Islam, and said, "Jerusalem was occupied by savage, dangerous criminals and terrorists. Why is it that some Arab countries are cooperating with these terrorists? Baghdad, like Jerusalem is occupied, and everyone must join the struggle to end the occupation."

Throughout the meetings, participants chanted in Arabic "We are millions of shahids for Al-Aqsa," "With our souls and our blood we will defend Al-Aqsa," and "Allah Akhbar."

Source: Milliyet, Cumhuriyet, Vakit, Yeni Safak, Turkey, November 16, 2007

http://www.thememriblog.org/turkey/blog_personal/en/3714.htm

Government Removed Portraits Of President Gul, PM Erdogan And Child Suicide Bomber From Islamist Exhibition

The mainstream Turkish daily Milliyet reported that portraits of a child suicide bomber, PM Erdogan, and President Gul, which were displayed together at the exhibition accompanying the Al-Quds Forum meeting were removed on the last day of the event.

A Milliyet correspondent learned from the Syrian-Palestinian artist who painted the pictures that the event organizers (TGTV) had told him to remove the paintings, as per the government's request.

Source: Milliyet, Turkey, November 18, 2007

http://www.thememriblog.org/turkey/blog_personal/en/3735.htm

U.S., Israel, Arab Countries React To Turkey's Hosting Jihadist Convention

The top selling, mainstream Turkish daily Hurriyet reported that many Arab countries, including Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Palestine, as well as Israel and the U.S., reacted through their embassies in Ankara and questioned why Turkey had allowed the Al-Quds International Forum meeting that brought together thousands of radical Islamists, supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas and Hizbullah.

The U.S. and Israel noted the contradiction between Turkey's successful attempt to bring Israeli and Palestinian leaders together, paving the way to the Annapolis peace conference, and "this convention" in Istanbul. They expressed disappointment, saying that they did not understand how it was possible that organizers of such a convention received permission.

Source: Hurriyet, Turkish Daily News, November 18, 2007

http://www.thememriblog.org/turkey/blog_personal/en/3733.htm

Yeni Safak Columnist: A Conference That Ankara Will "Appear" Not To Support

In a column titled "The Road To Quds (Jerusalem) Goes Through Istanbul!" Ibrahim Karagul of the Islamist Turkish daily and the unofficial mouthpiece of the AKP government Yeni Safak defended Turkey's hosting of Al-Quds meeting with the participation of thousands of radical Islamists from all over the world.

In his column, Karagul complimented the TGTV for organizing this gigantic meeting that brought many important names together, and claimed that this important gathering completes the picture given in Ankara a few days earlier, when Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas were hosted.

Karagul wrote: "This conference will naturally annoy Israel. It will certainly be seen as a front against America. It is a meeting that Ankara will 'in appearance' not support. But in reality it is a meeting that Turkey supports, as an important regional initiative.

"Some people with narrow perspective were opposed when Hamas representatives were invited to Ankara. This time they will do the same. But the meaning of Turkey bringing so many people together is this: The same way Fatah was hosted in Ankara, Hamas will be hosted in Istanbul. If Tel Aviv is in Ankara, there is Al-Quds (Jerusalem) in Istanbul!"

Source: Yeni Safak, Turkey, November 16, 2007

http://www.thememriblog.org/turkey/blog_personal/en/3719.htm

Milliyet: "Jerusalem Meeting" In Istanbul – Blow To Turkey's Pro-Peace Image

Bottom photograph: "The Erased Picture" – on which the world media complimented Turkey

Top photograph: "The Current Picture" – showing Turkish leaders displayed side by side with suicide bombers

For the second day in a row, the mainstream Turkish daily Milliyet covered the Al Quds Forum meeting in Istanbul on its front page. The report said that the meeting went on with over 3,000 participants from various Islamist organizations and institutions, and that Israel remained the target of curses and condemnations.

The report said that Milliyet was banned from attending the press conference held by Musa Ebu Marzuk, the No. 2 Hamas man in Syria. While the pro-AKP media was welcome, the organizer, TGTV (Turkey's Waqf for Volunteering Organizations) officials asked Milliyet to leave the room, saying that the paper was banned because of the front-page caption it had run the previous day ("Call for Jihad from Istanbul").

Source: Milliyet, Turkey, November 17, 2007

http://www.thememriblog.org/turkey/blog_personal/en/3717.htm

Milliyet: "PM Erdogan, President Gul Portraits Displayed Next To Painting Of Child Suicide Bomber"

Turkey's Waqf for Volunteering Organizations (TGTV), that organized the Al-Quds International Forum in Istanbul, also organized an exhibition in support of the Palestinian cause, particularly Al-Quds (Jerusalem).

The exhibition features photographs, books, paintings, artwork, and documentaries, displayed on the booths and partitions of the local and foreign Islamist organizations. One booth displays a painting of a child suicide bomber wearing an explosive belt, along with portraits of Turkish President Abdullah Gul and PM Tayyip Erdogan near Al-Aqsa mosque.

Yakub, a Palestinian painter residing in Syria, told journalists that the child in the painting was his own son and that he had painted President. Gul and PM Erdogan next to Al-Aqsa because he is very fond of these leaders because of their closeness to the Palestinian cause.

Pictures of dead Palestinians victims and of Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah were distributed to visitors.

Source: Milliyet, Turkey, November 16, 2007

http://www.thememriblog.org/turkey/blog_personal/en/3716.htm

In Istanbul, Thousands Of Radical Islamists Call For Jihad, Israel's Destruction

The International Al-Quds (Jerusalem) Forum meeting, convened yesterday in Istanbul, called for armed struggle until Jerusalem is "liberated." Representatives of all Islamic countries, as well as organizations such as Hamas, Hizbullah, Islamic Jihad and Jama'a Islamiya are attending the giant meeting.

Speeches expressing condemnation of Israel and determination to continue the armed struggle until Israel is eliminated were repeatedly interrupted by loud calls of "Allah-u Akbar."

Source: Milliyet, Cumhuriyet, Turkey, November 16, 2007

http://www.thememriblog.org/turkey/blog_personal/en/3706.htm

New In Turkish Edition Of Children's Classic "Heidi": Islamist Turban

Above: Old (l) and new (r) versions of Mrs. Seseman in Heidi

Turkey's mainstream press reports on the Islamicization of children's classics, such as Heidi. In the edition of Heidi that is included on the Turkish Education Ministry's list of 100 classics for elementary school, Clara's aristocratic Swiss Catholic grandmother Mrs. Seseman is shown wearing a turban and traditional Islamic garb. Other editions of the book published by other companies depicted the woman in Western attire.

Last year, there were similar media reports about Pinocchio performing Islamic rituals and praying to Allah.

Hurriyet columnist Mehmet Yilmaz wrote that even children's books are being used by Islamists as propaganda tools, instilling in the minds of young children the concept that there cannot be any other lifestyle but the Islamic lifestyle.

Source: Aksam, Milliyet, Hurriyet, Turkey, November 14, 2007

http://www.thememriblog.org/turkey/blog_personal/en/3684.htm

Turkey Hosts Al-Quds International Forum Meeting

The Al-Quds International Forum Meeting is taking place in Istanbul November 15-17, 2007, with 5,000 conferees from 60 countries.

The event was organized by Turkey's Waqf for Volunteering Organizations (TGTV), is an umbrella organization for dozens of Islamic foundations in Turkey, in cooperation with the Al-Quds International Institution.

According to the Islamist dailies Yeni Safak, Zaman, and Vakit, participants include Sheikh Yousuf al-Qaradhawi, president of the International Union of Muslim Scholars; Al-Aqsa Foundation head Sheikh Raid Sallah; former Jerusalem's Mufti Ikrima Sabri; Jerusalem Bishop Attallah Hanna; Turkish OIC Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu; and Nelson Mandela. Also invited are former U.S. president Jimmy Carter and Gen. (ret) Ramsey Clark, and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

The center-left, secular Turkish daily Cumhuriyet was critical of Khaled Mash'al of Hamas's again being invited to Turkey. Cumhuriyet wrote that while the Muslim world and Jerusalem Christians are participating, no representative was invited from Israel.

At the end of the meeting, the forum will issue the Istanbul Declaration, that will reaffirm Muslim and Christian rights to the Holy City, and will reject "judaization" of Jerusalem by Israel.

The Waqf has close ties to the AKP; among its founders are Deputy PM and State Minister Cemil Cicek and interior minister for the first AKP government, Abdulkadir Aksu.

Source: Cumhuriyet; Islamist Turkish dailies, Turkey, November 15, 2007

http://www.thememriblog.org/turkey/blog_personal/en/3701.htm

*Sudan

Sudan President: Alliance Between Christian Right, Global Judaism Is Setting Darfur On Fire

Speaking at the opening session of the international "Mercy for All Creatures" conference in Khartoum, Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir told the international conference that Western plots against Sudan have been ongoing since the land was occupied by the British, and that lust for Darfur's treasures is feeding the current crisis.

Al-Bashir said that the West was shoving its nose into Islam's affairs, punishing those who doubt the Nazi Holocaust while giving legitimacy to insulting the Prophet Muhammad, and calling it freedom of expression.

He added that the unholy alliance between the extreme Christian right and global Judaism was setting the Darfur conflict on fire.

Source: Al-Sahafa, Sudan, November 14, 2007

http://www.thememriblog.org/blog_personal/en/3670.htm

Fracas In Sudanese Parliament Over Smuggling Of Children To France

A fracas broke out in the Sudanese parliament during a discussion of a report by the committee investigating the affair of the smuggling of children from Darfur to France via Chfad.

The head of the southern factions in parliament, Peter Suly, blamed the abduction on the Sudanese government, saying that the children involved had ended up in the refugee camps because the Sudanese themselves (i.e. the government) had burned their villages and expelled them.

In protest, National Congress faction members left the hall.

Ahmad 'Issa, MP from the Darfur district of the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Sudan, added to Suly's statements, saying that the basic reason why Sudanese refugees were in Chad was the mistaken policy of the regime that was attacking and burning villages and arming the militias.

Source: Al-Ayyam, Sudan, November 8, 2007

http://www.thememriblog.org/blog_personal/en/3612.htm

*Saudi Arabia

Saudi Sheikh: Jihad In Our Era Is A Mistake

Saudi sheikh Dr. Salaman bin Fahd Al-'Awda has said that jihad in our time has caused more damage than benefit, and that waging jihad now is a mistake vis-à-vis the religion, society, and human life.

He said that of the fervent young people who go to wage jihad [in Iraq] without permission from their families and without knowing for sure what situation prevails there, many have disappeared without a trace, and others end up at Guantanamo.

Source: Al-Mustaqbal, Kuwait, November 19, 2007

http://www.thememriblog.org/blog_personal/en/3736.htm

Saudi Court Upgrades Rape Victim's Punishment To 200 Lashes, Six Months In Prison

The court in Al-Qatif, Saudi Arabia has ruled that the sentence of 90 lashes handed down a year ago to a Saudi Shi'ite woman who was abducted and gang-raped was insufficient, and that her punishment should be changed to 200 lashes as well as a six-month prison sentence.

Source: Al-Watan, Saudi Arabia, Alarabiya.net, November 15, 2007

http://www.thememriblog.org/blog_personal/en/3688.htm

Top Saudi Educator: Stop Hitting Pupils

The education director for the Qassim region of Saudi Arabia has instructed all schools in the region to stop corporal and psychological punishment of pupils.

The director, Fahd bin 'Abd Al-'Aziz Al-Ahmad, stressed that pupils' transgressions should be dealt with in pedagogic ways suited to their age and personal traits, and that harming their honor must be avoided.

Source: Al-Watan, Saudi Arabia, November 13, 2007

http://www.thememriblog.org/blog_personal/en/3652.htm

Saudi King: The Time Has Come For A Just Arab-Israeli Peace

At the conclusion of his visit to Italy on November 6, Saudi King Abdullah bin Abd Al-'Aziz said that the time had come to end the tragedy of the Arab-Israeli conflict and to reach a just peace, that would preserve the rights of all sides and would be based on the principles of integrity and on the international resolutions.

Source: Al-Hayat, London, November 8, 2007

http://www.thememriblog.org/blog_personal/en/3585.htm

*Iran

Iran Convicts French-Iranian Film Director Of Propagandizing Against Regime

In a November 17 trial behind closed doors, an Iranian court convicted French-Iranian film director Mehrnoush Solouki of propagandizing against the regime.

The sentencing date has not yet been set.

About a year ago, Solouki received permission to make a film about the graves of the Jewish, Armenian, and Zoroastrian minorities in Iran. During her work, she discovered graves of Iranian minority group members who were executed at the end of the Iran-Iraq war for anti-regime activity.

Solouki was arrested in February 2007 and freed a month later, but was prohibited from completing her film and from leaving Iran.

Source: Rooz, Iran, November 19, 2007

http://www.thememriblog.org/blog_personal/en/3734.htm

Iranian MP: Ahmadinejad Provoking Sarkozy

Conservative Iranian MP Reza Haj Babai, who is also a member of the Iranian parliament's Presidential Committee, has attacked a letter sent by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, calling it a provocation.

According to Western media reports, the letter contained veiled threats against France because of its position in the Iranian nuclear crisis.

Source: Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, London; Aftab, Iran, November 18, 2007

http://www.thememriblog.org/blog_personal/en/3732.htm

Cartoon In Kuwaiti Paper On Bush And Ahmadinejad: "Who's Training Whom?"

Under horse's feet: "Iraq."

Source: Al-Jarida, Kuwait, November 15, 2007

http://www.thememriblog.org/blog_personal/en/3711.htm

Iranian Weekly: Doubtful Whether Holocaust Took Place; 3,000 Centrifuges In Operation At Natanz

An article titled "The Holocaust – The Big Lie" in the Iranian weekly Sobh-e Sadeq, which is the mouthpiece of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei among the IRGC, expresses doubt that the Holocaust ever took place and states that close SS and Gestapo cooperation brought about the emigration of over 6,000 German Jews to Palestine from 1933 through 1941.

In another article, the paper reported that 3,000 centrifuges were in operation at the Natanz facility, and that "nuclear Iran" was now a fact.

Source: Sobh-e Sadeq, Iran, November 12, 2007

http://www.thememriblog.org/iran/blog_personal/en/3687.htm

In Iran, Students Clash As Ahmadinejad Visits Campus

Dozens were arrested November 12 as student movement activists clashed with student Bassij members at Tehran's Information and Technology University during a campus visit by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The clashes came despite security efforts and early warnings to students prior to the visit.

Student movement activists were protesting against the continued detention of three activists from their movement and against the lack of freedom of speech at the universities.

Source: Rooz, Iran, November 13, 2007

http://www.thememriblog.org/iran/blog_personal/en/3662.htm

Critics In Iran: What Did Ahmadinejad Gov't Do With Oil Revenues?

In an editorial, the Iranian reformist daily Aftab-e Yazd criticized the government of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for ignoring criticism over its gas rationing, over the country's rising inflation, and over Iran's economic aid to external elements despite its domestic difficulties.

The opposition daily Etemad-e Meli criticized the government for failing to explain to the public how it has used its oil revenues, which in the past two years have totaled over $120 billion.

In addition, Iranian Press Freedom organization spokesman Mashallah Shams Alvaezin said that if Iran is attacked, it will be solely because of Ahmadinejad's rhetoric.

Sources: Aftab-e Yazd, Etemad-e Meli, Iran, November 12, 2007

http://www.thememriblog.org/iran/blog_personal/en/3651.htm

Kuwait Captures Iranian Spy Ship

Kuwaiti security apparatuses have captured an Iranian ship equipped with electronic devices to tap wireless military communications.

Sources in Kuwait said that Iranian merchant ships entering Kuwaiti territorial waters ostensibly to bring in goods are equipped with wiretapping devices.

Kuwaiti Interior Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Khaled denied the report of the Iranian espionage attempt.

Source: Al-Watan, Kuwait, November 11, 2007; Al-Rai, Kuwait, November 12, 2007

http://www.thememriblog.org/blog_personal/en/3637.htm

Persian Reformist Daily: Ahmadinejad Gov't Bribing Media

The online reformist daily Rooz has reported that, following conservative circles' opposition to the appointment of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's associate Ali Akhbar Mahrabian as minister of industry and mines, the Industry and Mines Ministry has been bribing the media to present Mahrabian in a positive light so that he can gain the trust of the Majlis.

Source: Rooz, Iran, November 11, 2007

http://www.thememriblog.org/iran/blog_personal/en/3625.htm

"Al-Hayat" Columnist: Arab Countries Must Obtain Nuclear Weapons

In his column in the London daily Al-Hayat, Jihad Al-Khazen called on Arab countries to obtain nuclear weapons in order to deal with Israel and Iran.

Al-Khazen wrote: "The ideal solution is for the Middle East to be a zone free of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons. But this solution is impossible as long as Israel has nuclear weapons and missiles, denies that they exist, and is not relinquishing them. It is sheer insolence that Israel has not signed the NPT even though it is a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

"In light of this situation, I hope that Iran will indeed act to obtain a nuclear bomb, and not only a nuclear plan for peaceful purposes, and I call. on every Arab country to strive to obtain nuclear weapons in order to deal with Israel [...] and Iran. The spread of nuclear weapons in the Middle East is a bad option, but since Israel is the only country that has them, it is an even worse [option]..."

Source: Al-Hayat, London, November 13, 2007

http://www.thememriblog.org/blog_personal/en/3672.htm

*Egypt

Egyptian FM Criticizes Human Rights Watch Report

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmad Abu Al-Gheit has criticized a Human Rights Watch report calling on Egyptian authorities to permit Muslims who convert to Baha'ism to have their new religion listed in their official documents.

An Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman said that nothing is preventing Egyptians' freedom of worship, which is anchored in the constitution and in law as a basic right, and added that the HRW report ignored how Egypt's legal apparatuses uphold freedom of religion and worship in the country.

Source: Al-Ahram, Egypt, November 17, 2007

http://www.thememriblog.org/blog_personal/en/3727.htm

Egypt Arrests Two Activists From Middle East Christian Association

Activists Wagiya Yaaqoub and George Abd Al-Malak, from the Canada-based Middle East Christian Association (MECA), have been arrested for investigation on charges of posting online material that harms Islam.

The charges against the two include: publishing false announcements harming the public interest; spreading extremist ideas sparking civil war and harming Islam and social stability; and drawing up and deliberately circulating a false version of the Koran.

Source: Al-Gumhouriyya, Egypt, November 12, 2007

http://www.thememriblog.org/blog_personal/en/3645.htm

Egypt Supports Arab Uranium Enrichment Zone

Egyptian FM Ahmad Abu Al-Gheit has said that Egypt welcomes Saudi Arabia's proposal to establish an Arab zone for enriching uranium (see "Iran Rejects Saudi Uranium Enrichment Proposal").

Speaking to newspaper editors and diplomats, Al-Gheit said that the proposal was logical and worth consideration.

Source: Al-Gumhouriyya, Egypt, November 9, 2007

http://www.thememriblog.org/blog_personal/en/3604.htm

Millionaire Copt Sets Up Satellite TV For Dealing With Rising Religious Conservatism In Egypt

Millionaire Egyptian Copt Najib Suwairis has announced his intention to set up two new satellite television channels aimed at dealing with the rise of religious conservatism in Egypt, both religious and social.

Regarding the increased number of women who veil themselves in Egypt, Suwairis said that he was "not opposed to the veil, but when I walk down the street I feel like I'm in Iran."

Source: alwatanvoice.com, November 8, 2007

http://www.thememriblog.org/blog_personal/en/3595.htm

Egyptian MP: Let Rape Victims Abort

Egyptian MP Muhammad Khalil Quita has proposed allowing abortions until the fourth month of pregnancy for women who have been raped, in accordance with a fatwa by former mufti Nasser Farid Wasel.

The move, he said, would prevent such women from turning to unlicensed clinics that would put their lives at risk.

Source: Al-Masryoon, Egypt, November 8, 2007

http://www.thememriblog.org/blog_personal/en/3593.htm

*Antisemitism

Antisemitic Cartoon In Syrian Gov't Paper

Source: Teshreen, Syria, November 18, 2007

Islamist Turkish Daily Vakit: Israel – Cancerous Cell

Vakit wrote that its booth at the Al-Quds International Forum Exhibition is drawing much attention, and reported on their interview with Ali Akbar Muhteshami, the President of the International Committee for Supporting Palestinian People, participating in the 'Jerusalem Meeting'.

Muhteshami told Vakit that the Palestinian cause is very important for the Muslims everywhere and that the American hawks and Zionists were turning the Middle East into a sea of blood. He said that the U.S. and Israel were deliberately plotting against the Palestinian people and that this is why this gathering in Istanbul was extremely important. He said that the U.S. wanted to sever the Palestinian people's ties with Hamas, and that it does so by using some Muslim states. He added that Israel was a cancerous cell and that the U.S.'s goal was to impose Israel's existence upon Islamic countries through diplomacy, engraving in their minds an image of Israel as a legitimate state. He said that Annapolis conference would serve the interests of Israel, not those of the Palestinians. He stated that Jerusalem's Islamic identity was being erased and that Israel wanted to make Jerusalem its own capital. "If the Arab countries agree to that," he said, "it would be treason".

Source: Vakit, Turkey, November 17, 2007

http://www.thememriblog.org/turkey/blog_personal/en/3718.htm

*Jihad & Terrorism

Top Al-Qaeda-Maghreb Leader Killed

Algerian security forces have killed Abdelhamid Saadaoui, aka Abu Haytham, a commander and senior official of Al-Qaeda Maghreb (formerly the GSPC).

Saadaoui was killed in an exchange of fire with security forces at the Sikh Ou Meddour checkpoint, some 10 km from Tizi Ouzo (Kabylia).

Saadaoui had commanded the Kabylia region, but there were reports that he had recently been moved to a different post because he was suspected of embezzling organization funds.

Source: Al-Khaber, Algeria, November 17, 2007; El-Shorouq El-Yawmi, Algeria, November 16, 2007

http://www.thememriblog.org/blog_personal/en/3720.htm

Hizbullah Leader Nasrallah: We Are Ready For Victory That "Will Change The Face Of The Region"

In a speech marking Martyrs' Day, Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah confirmed reports that Hizbullah had conducted a large-scale military exercise south of the Litani river the previous week, and noted that the exercise had given the enemy the message that the resistance was ready not only to defend Lebanon but also to achieve "the historic victory that will change the face of the region."

Referring to Hizbullah's weapons, Nasrallah said that no one in the world could disarm the organization or implement U.N. Security Council Resolution 1559.

Nasrallah harshly attacked the March 14 Forces, saying that if they elect a president on their own by simple majority, the opposition would not recognize him and would see him as a "usurper."

Nasrallah also called on Lebanese President Emil Lahoud to act to save Lebanon if no agreement over the next president could be arrived at.

Source: http://www.hizbollah.org/ar/index.php, November 11, 2007

Also Visit the MEMRI TV Site and MEMRI TV's Hizbullah Page.

http://www.thememriblog.org/blog_personal/en/3639.htm

Bin Laden Fears Al-Qaeda Schism

During October, Osama bin Laden met with senior aides to discuss preventing a possible schism in Al-Qaeda.

The Al-Qaeda leaders' fear of a schism stems both from the Egyptian Jihad organization's expected announcement of its new policy rejecting the use of weapons, and from the great spiritual influence of this organization's former leader, Imam Al-Sharif among Al-Qaeda members (see "Book On Jihadist Ideology Criticizes Acts of Extremist Jihad") .

Source: Al-Jarida, Kuwait, November 9, 2007

http://www.thememriblog.org/blog_personal/en/3606.htm

*EXCLUSIVE: All-Iraq Conference For National Reconciliation Held Secretly In Jordan

Last week (November 5-11) representatives from all Iraqi political forces met in Jordan in an attempt to formulate agreed-upon lines for the future of the country

Participating were Sunni, Shi'ite, and Kurdish political party representatives, the awakening councils, and supporters of the Ba'th and the resistance.

At the conference, which was organized by a U.S. NGO, the following points were agreed upon:

a) Iraq will be a democratic country, with an elected government that maintains rule of law. The country will have a federalist character based on geography, not ethnicities or sects.

b) The country will preserve the principles of national sovereignty and non-intervention by foreign parties in Iraqi affairs. Coalition forces will leave the country in accordance with the pace of the building of the national security forces. (Those with doubts about this section claimed that the matter should be under the exclusive authority of the government).

The issues still in dispute are to be discussed at the next conference, slated to take place in Beirut next month.

Apparently the Ba'th and the resistance representatives, who did not participate as official representatives, will not be party to these conclusions.

The participants included: MPs Fuad Ma'sum and Faryad Rawandozi from the Kurdistan Alliance; Wael 'Abd Al-Latif from the Iraqi National List; Nasser Al-Ruba'i from the Sadrist Bloc; Wathab Shaker, Omar 'Abd Al-Sattar, and 'Adnan Al-Dulaimi from the Iraqi Accord Front; Hadi Al-Ameri, Haydar Al-'Abbadi, and Falih Al-Fayad from the United Iraqi Alliance; Qays Al-'Ameri from the Solidarity Bloc; Osama Al-Hardan from the Anbar Awakening Council; 'Abd Al-Rezzaq Al-Dulaimi from the Ba'ath, and Khaled Al-Ma'ini from the resistance factions.

Source: Al-Quds Al-Arabi, London, November 8, 2007; Al-Watan, Saudi Arabia and elaph.com, November 9, 2007

http://www.thememriblog.org/blog_personal/en/3602.htm