02 March 2010

Death for the sake of God is the highest of our aspirations

Despite the international terrorist threat from al-Qaeda, some analysts claim that radical Islam is on the wane. We are already, so they say, in the era of post-Islamism…However, the movement as a whole is still vigorous and exercises a measure of influences in various Muslim societies, including on politics. This influence continues, despite the fact that in most places, the movement is unlikely to take power, either by ballots or bullets.
-Emmanual Sivan, The Clash within Islam

The al-Qaeda dream is that success against the ‘far enemies’ – the United States and Israel – will rebound into the successful toppling of the ‘near enemy’, apostate Arab regimes. But this is the dream of an apocalyptic future, a dream most radical Muslims do not share.
-Emmanual Sivan, The Clash within Islam

[They] envisioned dar al-Harb (“House of War”) as an area torn by perpetual conflict and a constant threat to the peace of the dar al-Islam (“House of Islam”). Although extended periods of truce would be permissible, war between these two abodes was understood to be the normal state, until such time that the dar al-Islam would prevail.
-Assaf Moghadam, Mayhem, Myths, and Martyrdom: The Shi’a Conception of Jihad

God is our objective; the Quran is our constitution; the Prophet is our leader; Jihad is our way; and Death for the sake of God is the highest of our aspirations.
-The Credo of the Muslim Brotherhood

Beginning in the early 1980s, and continuing until today, Salafi-Jihadists would frame the concept of jihad as the result of a long history of perceived Western subjugation of Islam that includes the occupation of Muslim lands by ‘infidel’ Western countries and ‘apostate’ regimes in the Arab Middle East.
-Assaf Moghadam, Mayhem, Myths, and Martyrdom: The Shi’a Conception of Jihad

Most Muslims, including non-violent Salafis, cite a number of Quranic and hadith sources against the killing of civilians, although mainstream Salafis recognize that innocent civilians may be killed in the course of war, which is an acceptable consequence if the war is just.
-Assaf Moghadam, Mayhem, Myths, and Martyrdom: The Shi’a Conception of Jihad

[I]f Sunni and Shiite governments alike do not curb the belligerent voices in their midst…the struggle might break out of the boundaries of Iraq and engulf other parts of the region. Encouraged by pinpoint Al-Qaeda operations, tensions will likely mount in the Gulf area and in Lebanon. If and when the US decides to recall its forces from Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and other Sunni states will probably get embroiled in the bloody struggle in order to prevent its extension into their own territories, making it necessary for Iraqn to increase its own involvement. What is now a fundamentally political struggle might thus become another set of religious wars within Dar al-Islam.
-Dr. Dror Ze’evi, The Present Shia-Sunna Divide: Remaking Historical Memory

SeaWorld resumes shows with killer whales – but no 'Tilikum'

Shows featuring killer whales reopened at SeaWorld marine parks Saturday, days after the tragic death of whale trainer Dawn Brancheau in Orlando, Fla.

Park managers in Orlando decided not to use the male orca, Tilikum, involved in Brancheau's death, on Saturday. And trainers did not get into the water – riding or jumping with the whales – as they have typically done in what has become a signature event for the theme parks.

US Postal Service delivers bad news: No Saturday mail delivery?
The Postal Service’s volume has been declining rapidly. Now its leaders are increasing the pressure on Congress to allow big changes in how the US mail is handled – including the ending of Saturday deliveries.

Ukraine PM's coalition collapses

Ukraine's coalition government has collapsed after Viktor Yanukovych, the newly-elected president, moved to oust the prime minister from parliament.

Yulia Tymoshenko had refused to recognise Yanukovych's victory in polls last month, claiming the vote was unfair and fraudulent, and remained in office. But her majority has now crumbled after a number of politicians from minority parties switched their allegiance following her defeat in the February 7 polls.

"As of today there is no coalition in parliament. Therefore I announce that the coalition has ceased to exist," Volodymr Lytvyn, parliament speaker, said on Tuesday.

Under the Ukrainian constitution, the country's political leaders have 30 days to form a new coalition. If they fail, Yanukovych can exercise his right to dissolve parliament and call snap legislative elections that would otherwise not be due until 2012.

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