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Flashpoint In Bahrain

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No thread on this? More uprising due to lack of jobs, rising prices, lack of freedoms etc.

Not good, troubles in those regions,tend to ignite oil prices... The unrest is spreading...

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No thread on this? More uprising due to lack of jobs, rising prices, lack of freedoms etc.

Not good, troubles in those regions,tend to ignite oil prices... The unrest is spreading...

This will roll all the way round the world.

As each regime make a token gesture to their public they will ring fence cheaper oil and food supplies for thier immediate local needs to try and ease the strain.

This will put even further pressure on prices elsewhere and the ripple carries on. Probably not even a question of turning the money pumps off now too late, but they will carry on pumping and make the problem worse.

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No thread on this? More uprising due to lack of jobs, rising prices, lack of freedoms etc.

Not good, troubles in those regions,tend to ignite oil prices... The unrest is spreading...

I heard an expert on sky blame the financial crisis on the middle east unrest

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I heard an expert on sky blame the financial crisis on the middle east unrest

<_<

Forgot to mention the $ devaluation did they!?

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Partly caused by raising food costs I would imagine, which in turn has been fueled by QE in the west. I hope the protesters in all the countries get their wish. Democracy. I think they will win and this will continue throughout the entire middle east and north african countries. But what rises in the regimes' place will be the key to world politics and order, and that is a complete unknown (apart from the higher oil price bit).

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No thread on this? More uprising due to lack of jobs, rising prices, lack of freedoms etc.

Not good, troubles in those regions,tend to ignite oil prices... The unrest is spreading...

Unemployment in Bahrain is 4% and wealth is relatively well distributed. The place isnt perfect but fairly liberal by ME standards.

I suspect the protests are being stirred up by Iran (who actually claim Bahrain) or simply copy cat protests.

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These are interesting times. I wonder what will happen there regarding the F1 race which is only now a few weeks away.

Will there be protests at the race? Will there be harsher crackdowns to crush the protests by then, potentially leading to F1 being criticised for being there by the outside world - much like bands or sports that went to South Africa during the appartheid blockade? Maybe the F1 roadshow will go regardless and be exposed as just another big business with no regard for anything but money...

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Unemployment in Bahrain is 4% and wealth is relatively well distributed. The place isnt perfect but fairly liberal by ME standards.

I suspect the protests are being stirred up by Iran (who actually claim Bahrain) or simply copy cat protests.

Come off it, this has little to do with Iran, that's real dissent you are witnessing there as a result of a Sunni minority treating the Shia's unfairly.

Just like the former USSR, USrael is mired in unpayable debts and bogged down in an un-winnable war in Afghanistan. I believe there is every chance that the Middle East revolutions, against what are largely puppet western autocrats, will be USrael's Eastern Europe Domino moment, that will lead directly to the fall of empire and relative impoverishment for the American people.

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Unemployment in Bahrain is 4% and wealth is relatively well distributed. The place isnt perfect but fairly liberal by ME standards.

I suspect the protests are being stirred up by Iran (who actually claim Bahrain) or simply copy cat protests.

It'll spread to Iran sooner or later. And Ahmandinajad won't give up power without a hell of a fight. It'll be very nasty. :(

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Things will really kick off in the middle east when the oil is significantly running out and the income with it. Part of the reason some pretty nasty regimes have lasted a long time in places like Iran and Saudi Arabia is that oil wealth has enabled them to maintain a relatively (by developing world standards) high standard of living for their populations. When they're no longer able to do that ....

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Come off it, this has little to do with Iran, that's real dissent you are witnessing there as a result of a Sunni minority treating the Shia's unfairly.

Just like the former USSR, USrael is mired in unpayable debts and bogged down in an un-winnable war in Afghanistan. I believe there is every chance that the Middle East revolutions, against what are largely puppet western autocrats, will be USrael's Eastern Europe Domino moment, that will lead directly to the fall of empire and relative impoverishment for the American people.

Having spent some time in Bahrain I agree that this rebellion is largely a sectarian religious issue between majority Shia and the ruling Sunni elite. I wouldn't go as far as to draw a comparison with the USSR but we are being reminded of what unpleasant despots the West has backed in the Middle East for a generation or more. What a bunch of hypocrites our governments have been. We even sold them the tear gas!

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Come off it, this has little to do with Iran, that's real dissent you are witnessing there as a result of a Sunni minority treating the Shia's unfairly.

Just like the former USSR, USrael is mired in unpayable debts and bogged down in an un-winnable war in Afghanistan. I believe there is every chance that the Middle East revolutions, against what are largely puppet western autocrats, will be USrael's Eastern Europe Domino moment, that will lead directly to the fall of empire and relative impoverishment for the American people.

The Shias in Bahrain best be careful about what they hope for. Iran is a horrible place and makes Saudi Arabia look kind and fluffy. I just hope in their genuine desire for more representation they don't end up with an Ayatollah heading up their country. :ph34r:

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The Shias in Bahrain best be careful about what they hope for. Iran is a horrible place and makes Saudi Arabia look kind and fluffy. I just hope in their genuine desire for more representation they don't end up with an Ayatollah heading up their country. :ph34r:

I'm sorry, but thats just a load of crap and you know It!

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EXHIBIT A WAHHABISM

Saudi Arabia, Wahhabism and the Spread of Sunni Theofascism

Amb. Curtin Winsor, Ph.D. - 10/22/2007

The United States has largely eliminated the infrastructure and operational leadership of Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda terrorist network over the past five years. However, its ideological offspring continue to proliferate across the globe.

American efforts to combat this contagion are hamstrung by the fact that its ideological and financial epicenter is Saudi Arabia, where an ostensibly pro-Western royal family governs through a centuries-old alliance with the fanatical Wahhabi Islamic sect. In addition to indoctrinating its own citizens with this extremist creed, the Saudi government has lavishly financed the propagation of Wahhabism throughout the world, sweeping away moderate interpretations of Islam even within the borders of the United States itself.

The Bush administration has done little to halt this ideological onslaught beyond quietly (and unsuccessfully) urging the Saudi royal family to desist. This lack of resolve is rooted in American dependence on Saudi oil production, fears of instability in the kingdom, wishful thinking about democracy promotion as an antidote to religious extremism, and preoccupation with confronting Iran.

Background

Wahhabism is derived from the teachings of Muhammad ibn abd al-Wahhab, an eighteenth century religious zealot from the Arabian interior. Like most Sunni Islamic fundamentalist movements, the Wahhabis advocated the fusion of state power and religion through the reestablishment of the Caliphate, the form of government adopted by the Prophet Muhammad's successors during the age of Muslim expansion. What sets Wahhabism apart from other Sunni Islamist movements is its historical obsession with purging Sufis, Shiites, and other Muslims who do not conform to its twisted interpretation of Islamic scripture.

In 1744, Ibn Abd al-Wahhab forged an historic alliance with the Al-Saud clan and sanctified its drive to vanquish its rivals. In return, the Al-Saud supported campaigns by Wahhabi zealots to cleanse the land of "unbelievers." In 1801, Saudi-Wahhabi warriors crossed into present day Iraq and sacked the Shiite holy city of Karbala, killing over 4,000 people. After the Saudis conquered Mecca and Medina in the 1920s, they destroyed such "idolatrous" shrines as the Jannat al-Baqi cemetary, where four of the twelve Shiite imams were buried (on the grounds that grave markers are bida'a, or objectionable innovations).

In return for endorsing the royal family's authority in political, security, and economic spheres after the establishment of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932, Wahhabi clerics were granted control over state religious and educational institutions and allowed to enforce their rigid interpretation of sharia (Islamic law).

Wahhabism was largely confined to the Arabian peninsula until the 1960s, when the Saudi monarchy gave refuge to radical members of the Muslim Brotherhood fleeing persecution in Nasser's Egypt. A cross-fertilization of sorts occurred between the atavistic but isolated Wahhabi creed of the Saudi religious establishment and the Salafi jihadist teachings of Sayyid Qutb, who denounced secular Arab rulers as unbelievers and legitimate targets of holy war (jihad). "It was the synthesis of the twain-Wahhabi social and cultural conservatism, and Qutbist political radicalism- that produced the militant variety of Wahhabist political Islam that eventually (produced) al-Qaeda."[1]

The terms Islamofascism and theofascism have been frequently misused by Westerners to refer to virtually all forms of radical Islamism, but they are fitting appellations for Wahhabism today.[2] The sect's rejection of individual liberties, disparagement and reduction of women's rights and status,[3] disregard for the intrinsic value of human life, and encouragement of violence against unbelievers, are unparalleled among Islamic fundamentalist movements.

Former CIA Director R. James Woolsey has used the term "Sunni theocratic totalitarianism,"[4] a term that highlights both the movement's "will to power" over the most minute aspects of Muslim daily life and its global ambitions. He also notes that its adherents do not raise the banner of Islam in pursuit of specific national, political, or territorial gains. Al-Qaeda's second in command, Ayman al-Zawahiri has sharply rebuked the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas[5] and Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood for participating in national elections.[6]

During the 1970s, Wahhabi clerics encouraged the spread of this revolutionary and atavistic ideological synthesis into Saudi universities and mosques, because it was seen as a barrier to the threat of cultural Westernization and spread of corruption that accompanied the 1970s oil boom. Consequently, the royal family and their religious establishment looked for a cause with which to deflect the growing zealotry from Wahhabist theofascism, a danger highlighted by the seizure of the Grand Mosque at Mecca by heavily armed Islamic Studies students in 1979. The diversion that the royal family seized upon was the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

The Saudis financed a large-scale program of assistance to the Afghan mujahideen, in coordination with the Pakistan's Inter Service Intelligence agency (ISI) and the CIA, while funding radicalized madrassas to disseminate neo-Wahhabi ideology and literature in the sprawling Afghan refugee camps of Pakistan. They also dispatched thousands of volunteer jihadis from Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries to fight alongside the mujahideen.

These so-called "Arab Afghans" dispersed to far-flung areas of the world after the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1988. They pursued further victories against "unbelievers" in the name of Islam, and they were accompanied by militant Wahhabi preachers. These elements would form the backbone of al-Qaeda. Al-Qaeda was initially headquartered in Sudan, but returned to Afghanistan in 1996, following the seizure of Kabul by the Taliban. This was a new Afghan force, recruited in Wahhabi madrassas and, trained by the Pakistanis. Its goal was the establishment of a model Wahhabi state in Afghanistan.

The Saudi royal family revoked bin Laden's Saudi citizenship (in response to heavy American pressure), but did little to interfere with Wahhabi "charities" in the Kingdom and abroad. These entities raised money for al-Qaeda, while the religious onslaught of Wahhabism continued to receive government sponsorship and funding. Osama bin Laden is widely believed to have reached an agreement with Prince Turki al-Faisal, then-chief of Saudi National Security and Intelligence in the mid 1990s, whereby al-Qaeda would not target the Kingdom, and the Kingdom would not interfere with al-Qaeda's fundraising or seek bin Laden's extradition.[7] In fact, Al-Qaeda abstained completely from attacks on Saudi targets within the Kingdom prior to 9/11.

Terrorist attacks and clashes between Saudi police and Islamist militants have erupted erupting periodically since May 2003, after the Saudi Government began cracking down on underground cells in the Kingdom (under pressure from Washington). However, it appears that most Al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist groups still respect this quid pro quo Hundreds of members of the Saudi royal family jet around the world without fear of assassination. The country's vulnerable petroleum industry has only once been targeted by terrorists, and then in a less that serious manner. In return, and notwithstanding its limited cooperation with Washington in restricting terrorist financing, the Saudi monarchy has maintained its commitment to propagating Wahhabism at home and abroad, providing the terrorist underground with a growing flood of eager recruits.

Wahhabi Indoctrination

"Man . . . requires proper instruction and a fortunate nature, and then of all animals he becomes the most divine and most civilized; but if he be insufficiently or ill educated, he is the most savage of earthly creatures."

Plato

It is estimated that well over one-third of Saudi Arabia's public school curriculum is devoted to Wahhabi teachings. Passages from Saudi textbooks quoted in the American media after 9/11 generated much controversy. One textbook, for example, informed ninth grade students that Judgment Day will not come "until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them," while another stated that it is "compulsory" for Muslims "to consider the infidels their enemy."[8] Embarrassed by the revelations, the Saudi government purported to launch a comprehensive review of its educational curricula and pledged that all such references would be removed. Last year, however, Freedom House published an exhaustive report on the new curriculum, concluding that it "continues to propagate an ideology of hate toward the 'unbeliever,' which include Christians, Jews, Shiites, Sufis, Sunni Muslims who do not follow Wahhabi doctrine, Hindus, atheists and others."[9]

Some analysts dismiss the relevance of this indoctrination on the grounds that "conforming to an ultra-conservative, anti-pluralistic faith does not necessarily make you a violent individual,"[10] but this reasoning is fallacious. If only one percent of the 5 million Saudi students exposed to these teachings resort to violence, this would produce 50,000 jihadis.[11] Not surprisingly, bin Laden himself denounced foreign interference in Saudi school curricula in an April 2006 audiotape.

Moreover, these teachings are reinforced by Wahhabi clerics in Saudi Arabia, who advocate jihad against enemies of "true" Islam - outside the kingdom." Incitement to violence against Shiites is particularly common. In December 2006, a high-ranking cleric close to the Saudi royal family, Abdul Rahman al-Barak, denounced Shiites as an "evil sect . . . more dangerous than Jews and Christians."[12]

In November of 2004, twenty-six clerics, most of whom held positions as lecturers of Islamic studies at various Saudi state-funded universities, issued a call for jihad against American forces in Iraq. Two Saudi officials denounced the fatwa in interviews with the Western media, but no retraction was made in Arabic to local media outlets. Months later, a Saudi dissident group released a videotape showing the Chief Justice of Saudi Arabia's Supreme Judicial Council, Saleh bin Muhammad al-Luhaidan, advising young Saudis at a government mosque on how to infiltrate Iraq and fight US troops, as well as assuring them that Saudi security forces would not punish them after their return.[13] While Luhaidan publicly retracted his statements, videotapes of prominent Saudi clerics exhorting the public to wage jihad in Iraq and elsewhere continue to surface.[14]

Exporting Hatred

While Saudi citizens remain the vanguard of Islamic theofascism around the world, the growth potential for this ideology lies outside the Kingdom. The Saudis have spent at least $87 billion propagating Wahhabism abroad during the past two decades,[15] and the scale of financing is believed to have increased in the past two years as oil prices have skyrocketed. The bulk of this funding goes to the construction and operating expenses of mosques, madrassas, and other religious institutions that preach Wahhabism. It also supports the training of imams; domination of mass media and publishing outlets; distribution of Wahhabi textbooks and other literature; and endowments to universities (in exchange for influence over the appointment of Islamic scholars). By comparison, the Communist Party of the USSR and its Comintern spent just over $7 billion propagating its ideology worldwide between 1921 and 1991.[16]

The lack of a formal ecclesiastical hierarchy within Sunni Islam renders traditional religious institutions weak in the face of well-funded Wahhabi missionary activities. Most Sunni Muslims look to their local imams for religious guidance. In poor countries, these imams and local leaders often find it difficult to resist the siren song of small amounts of Saudi aid that accompany Wahhabist missionaries in poor. Moderate imams do not have a comparable source of financial patronage with which to combat its spread.[17]

Important fronts in this campaign are in south and southeast Asia, where the majority of the world's Muslims live. In Pakistan, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia and southern Thailand, Wahhabis have co-opted (or replaced) village and neighborhood imams, and there is a fresh stream of converts returning from stays as guest workers in Saudi Arabia. The children of poor converts are often taken to Saudi Arabia for "education" and many are returned as cannon fodder for use by Wahhabi terrorist fronts.[18] In India, efforts are underway to capture a portion that country's huge Muslim minority as well as the Untouchable Caste.

Wahhabism has made less headway in the former Soviet Republics of Central Asia, despite the fact that decades of Communist rule had weakened their traditional Islamic institutions. Several successor governments, especially the Uzbekis, have cracked down harshly on militant Islamist groups, while encouraging educational systems in the Hanafi tradition that promote tolerant and peaceful Islam. Africa is also a critical area of Wahhabi expansion, as it offers a multitude of "failed states" and communal cleavages ripe for exploitation, most notably in the Sudan and Nigeria.[19]

In all of these areas, the central dynamic is the same - it is the overwhelming wealth of Saudi Arabia that enables the Wahhabi sect to proselytize on a global scale, not the intrinsic appeal of its teachings. Throughout the world, moderates echo the assessment of Somali journalist Bashir Gothar, who writes that his country's tolerant Sufi-infused Islamic culture has been: "swept aside by a new brand of Islam that is being pushed down the throat of our people - Wahhabism. Anywhere one looks, one finds that alien, perverted version of Islam."[20]

Wahhabism in the West

Wahhabi proselytizing is not limited to the Islamic world. The Saudis have financed the growth of thousands of Wahhabi mosques, madrassas, and other religious institutions in Western countries that have fast-growing Muslim minorities during the past three decades.[21] Wahhabi penetration is deepest in the social welfare states of Western Europe, where chronically high unemployment has created large pools of able-bodied young Muslim men who have "become permanent wards of the state at the cost of their basic human dignity."[22] This is a perfect storm of alienation and idleness, ripe for terrorist recruitment. The perpetrators of the 2005 London subway attacks were native-born Britons of Pakistani descent, recruited locally and trained in the use of explosives during visits to Pakistan. The Dutch Moroccan who murdered Dutch filmmaker Theodor Van Gogh in 2004 (for producing a film critical of Islam) was also a product of Wahhabi indoctrination.

The Wahhabis have had less traction in the United States, which lacks the masses of unassimilated young people that exist in Europe. US welfare laws no longer allow able-bodied young men to have indefinite periods of government subsidized unemployment and immigrants (both Muslim and non-Muslim) tend to find a more stable niche in American society.

Nevertheless, Wahhabi penetration of US mainstream Islamic institutions is substantial. A 2005 Freedom House Report examined over 200 books and other publications distributed in 15 prominent Saudi-funded American mosques. One such publication, bearing the imprint of the Saudi embassy and distributed by the King Fahd Mosque in Los Angeles, contained the following injunctions for Muslims living in America:

Be dissociated from the infidels, hate them for their religion, leave them, never rely on them for support, do not admire them, and always oppose them in every way according to Islamic law.

[W]hoever helps unbelievers against Muslims, regardless of what type of support he lends to them, he is an unbeliever himself.

Never greet the Christian or Jew first. Never congratulate the infidel on his holiday. Never befriend an infidel unless it is to convert him. Never imitate the infidel. Never work for an infidel. Do not wear a graduation gown because this imitates the infidel.[23]

Although Saudi-funded religious institutions have been careful not to incite or explicitly endorse violence since 9/11, they unapologetically promote distrust toward non-Muslims and self-segregation. In effect, they are trying to reproduce in America the kind of social conditions that have fueled radicalization and terrorist recruitment in Europe.

Saudi-funded religious institutions, such as the American Muslim Council (AMC), have long been treated as representatives of the American Muslim community by the US government. Abdurahman Almoudi, the founder of the AMC, was a frequent visitor to White House under the Clinton and Bush administrations despite having publicly proclaimed support for the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas (he is now in jail for having illegally accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Libyan government).

High level political access has enabled such groups to penetrate the American prison system. The US Bureau of Prisons has relied on chaplain endorsements from the so-called Graduate School of Islamic and Social Sciences (GSISS), a Saudi-funded organization.[24] The most egregious example of this penetration is the case of Imam Deen Umar, the Administrative Chaplain for the State of New York Department of Corrections. Umar, an American convert who made two visits to Saudi Arabia and studied at the GSISS, and the men he hired as chaplains, had exclusive access to the 13,000 Muslims in the New York prison system. According to then FBI Assistant Director for Counterterrorism John S. Pistole, Umar was found to have "denied prisoners access to mainstream imams and materials" and "sought to incite prisoners against America, preaching that the 9/11 hijackers should be remembered as martyrs and heroes."[25]

While there is little evidence that al-Qaeda has recruited inside the American prison system, it is noteworthy that José Padilla (arrested in 2002 in connection with an al-Qaeda plot to detonate a radioactive "dirty bomb" in the United States) first embraced radical Islam while in prison, as did Richard Reid (the so-called "shoe bomber" arrested in 2001) in the UK and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Jordan.

The American Muslim Armed Forces and Veterans Affairs Council (a branch of the AMC), along with the Saudi-funded Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), secured the right to select, train and certify all Muslim chaplains for the US Armed Forces.[26] It has been reported that Saudi Arabia provided more than 100 US Armed Forces personnel with free trips to Mecca as an opportunity to make their hajj.[27] Almoudi arranged for the Saudi-controlled Institute of Islamic and Arabic Sciences (IIAS) to train "American soldiers and civilians to provide spiritual guidance when paid Muslim chaplains aren't available." The Wall Street Journal also reported that there were signs that: "the school . . . disseminates the intolerant and anti-Western strain of Islam espoused by the [saudi] Kingdom's religious establishment."[28]

While the Saudi ambassador in Washington said last year that his government was undertaking a "very intense review" of all missionary activities in the United States,[29] it is clear that the Saudis are concerned primarily with avoiding bad publicity, not abandoning their drive to dominate Islamic institutions in America.

Article in full

I rest my case!

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Spoke to a mate whose in Bahrain yesterday via Skype . He's staying in a hotel overlooking one of the main flash points, difficult to get to sleep when the locals are rioting!

He's not worried yet, but he perhaps should be depending what happens today, the start of their weekend. <_<

I walked past the cafe here this morning saw the 'party crew' here who spend virtually every weekend in Bahrain looking rather glum!

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I rest my case!

If you read my post carefully I was simply making the point that compared to Iran KSA is a nice place. I didnt say it was a nice place.

Whilst it will be great if Bahrain democratises there is a big risk that the power vacuum ushers in an authoritarian state on similar lines to Iran. Extremists will happily use democracy to get into power and then ban all opposition.

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EXHIBIT A WAHHABISM

I rest my case!

You do realise that since 2005 the King has progressively removed extremists from religious and judicial positions and replaced them with moderates. The Muttaween have been reigned in along with the clerics. That is one of the reasons you rarely hear the bizairre stories of previous years.

I have watched Saudi television programmes poke fun at the intolerance of the religious extremists. If you read Saudi newspapers there is plenty of healthy debate and criticism of authority. Freedom of expression is tolerated providing its not seen as undermining the state.

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EXHIBIT B WOMEN IN IRAN

By Mike Celizic

TODAYshow.com contributor TODAYshow.com contributor

updated 9/13/2007 11:02:08 AM ET 2007-09-13T15:02:08

Share Print Font: +-Iranian law still favors men, but women in that country are more educated and have a more visible role in life than in many other Islamic countries, such as Saudi Arabia. And things are getting better, according to the first woman to serve as a cabinet secretary in that country.

But to see that, Massoumeh Ebtekar told TODAY co-host Matt Lauer, Westerners need to get over their obsession with the hijab, the head scarf that Iranian women are required to wear by law.

“Hijab is a kind of social act,” Ebtekar said in a live interview conducted in Tehran, the Iranian capital. “I don’t think it is a big issue for women, because there are a lot of issues for women that are so important, and hijab is not a big thing.”

Women are not equal under Iran’s constitution, adopted in 1979 after the revolution that overthrew Shah Reza Pahlavi. The constitution mandates that the legal code adhere to Sharia law, the Islamic moral code based on the Koran. Article IV of that constitution states: “all civil, penal, financial, economic, administrative, cultural, military, political, and other laws and regulations must be based on Islamic criteria.”

Sharia has an Old Testament flavor, providing, for example, for public lashings for certain offenses, and death by stoning for women convicted of adultery.

But there is also a cultural aspect. Iran is a Persian nation, and women there can do many things that they cannot do in some other countries, including Saudi Arabia, which is an Arab nation. For example, in Saudi Arabia, women are not allowed to drive, get a university education or hold public office. In Iran, women not only drive personal vehicles, some drive taxis. They may hold public office, and women make up 65 percent of all university students.

In Tehran, there is a professional fire company composed entirely of women, who wear hijabs under helmets while responding to fire calls. It is the only company of female firefighters in the Middle East.

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.Also, while Iranian women must cover their hair, they do not have to cover their faces. As that is the only part of their bodies they can show, NBC’s Richard Engel reported, they want it to be as perfect as possible, and plastic surgeons who do rhinoplasties — nose jobs — do a roaring business. Women whose noses are still bandaged after the surgery are a common sight on Tehran’s streets.

But under Iranian law, a woman is treated as half of a man. In court, the testimony of two women equals that of one man; a man’s son inherits twice as much as his daughter; compensation for the accidental death of a man is twice that for a woman.

Men can marry non-Islamic women (males are allowed up to four wives, provided that they can provide equally for all of them), but women cannot marry non-Islamic men. A woman can get a divorce only under extreme conditions; a man can divorce a wife without cause.

Given all of that, Lauer asked Ebtekar if women’s rights and Sharia law can coexist.

“I do believe there are some difficulties understanding Sharia within the law,” Ebtekar replied. “As you know, even the religious leaders, through three decades after the revolution, have tried to reinterpret Islam in favor of women. Also, the female parliamentarians, they have tried so hard to pass laws in favor of women.

“For example, if a man unjustly divorces his wife, the wife is going to be entitled to half of his wealth.”

Ebtekar speaks fluent English, the result of spending her childhood in the United States while her father was completing his doctorate. He was offered a job with NASA, but returned to Iran in 1969 when his daughter was 9. In 1979, while an engineering student at a Tehran university, she joined an Islamic student movement that was closely involved in the overthrow of the Shah. She was one of the students who took over the American Embassy, taking Americans hostage for more than a year, in 1979. Because of her fluency in English, she became the spokesperson for the students. In 2000, she published a book about her experiences.

Ebtekar switched from engineering to medicine and is now a professor of immunology at Tarbiat Modarres University in Tehran. She served as the head of the Department of the Environment under the reform government of President Mohammad Khatami from 1997-2005 and now serves on the Tehran City Council. In 2006, she received the United Nations Champion of the Earth Award for her environmental work.

She is also a co-founder of the Center for Peace and Environment in Iran.

Ebtekar conceded that women in Iran do not have equality with men, but, she told Lauer, “It’s changing through the time. It takes time to change the laws in favor of women, but we have had lots of improvements.”

And before you go on about that woman who was stoned to death, I'm not arguing that Iran isn't a backwards country just that its a whole lot less backwards then Saudi Arabia.

We don't get to hear about atrocities against women in Saudi Arabia because they are our friendwendies, but we shouldn't expect anything less from our hypocritical msn.

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Were there many Saudis from across the causeway there then? :unsure:

Huge numbers of Saudis visit Bahrain every weekend if the queues on the Causeway are anything to go by. There are a group of Saudi lads in my dept who go at least once a month - can drink you under the table as well on all accounts :lol:

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You do realise that since 2005 the King has progressively removed extremists from religious and judicial positions and replaced them with moderates. The Muttaween have been reigned in along with the clerics. That is one of the reasons you rarely hear the bizairre stories of previous years.

I have watched Saudi television programmes poke fun at the intolerance of the religious extremists. If you read Saudi newspapers there is plenty of healthy debate and criticism of authority. Freedom of expression is tolerated providing its not seen as undermining the state.

Rubbish

EXHIBIT C MOST TERRORISTS ARE SAUDI

Saudi Arabia, Off The Hook / The 9/11 terrorists were mostly Saudi. Suicide bombers in Iraq are Saudi. And we're allies?May 20, 2005|By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist

I am no foreign-policy expert. I am no virtuoso of nuanced and wicked international relations. I know not of intricate deal making and smarm sucking and backstabbing and glad handing and the Bushes raking in millions from clandestine oil deals with the Saudi kingdom. Ahem.

But this much I do know. This much is sickeningly, painfully obvious. We are, apparently, bombing the wrong country. Or rather, countries.

Iraq, as anyone paying even the scantest attention now knows, had zero to do with 9/11. Saddam and Osama? Hated each other. Iraq hiding massive Costco-size warehouses of WMDs, big nasty biotoxins and nuclear warheads and giant boxes of bitchin' Red Devil firecrackers? A nasty joke, told by Bush, at Americans' expense.

advertisement | your ad hereSo what we are left with is a relatively obvious question, and it has an obvious answer, and it's almost silly to bring it up because it's just sort of sad and so deeply ironic and ridiculous you can't even fully process it lest you begin to tear out your hair and scream obscenities at the wall, and anytime any image of Dubya appears anywhere in your purview your colon clenches and your blood boils and you can only think of gutting Karl Rove with a rusty pocketknife.

The obvious question is, if we are the Great Liberator, the great Crammer Down of Democratic Values, if we care so deeply about making 'Murka safer and granting the hot breath of stale freedom to the oppressed citizens of foreign nations whose leaders are abusing and oppressing and murdering them at will, why do we not bomb the living hell out of Saudi Arabia and call it a war?

Oh, I know. That's just silly talk. That's just blaspheming. I don't actually mean it. But it certainly is a red-faced demon on obviousness, and it must be asked.

Do we need justification? Sanctimonious moral authority? More pseudo-Christian rationalization, besides the fact that we've known since a month after 9/11 that the vast majority of the WTC terrorists were Saudi? We've got plenty.

Now talk to the hand.

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Kurt,

I think you know this is fledgling criticism and as such, can be stuffed out in an instant just like those in a certain square in China were some years ago.

That country has a millennia of catching up to do doesn't it.

I agree but the point is its heading in the right direction. Moderation and reform is happening slowly. From what I gather at a pace that tries to balance the demands of the reformers and the conservatives. Perhaps reform could be faster, who knows. Mind u nothing moves fast out here except the traffic ;)

Sometimes its 2 steps fwd one step back however the Saudi's I know tell me the Country has changed a lot in the last 5 years.

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Rubbish

EXHIBIT C MOST TERRORISTS ARE SAUDI

Now talk to the hand.

You clearly didn't read my post as I made it clear from 2005 there has been a policy of moderation and reform. In response you post something dated 2005 which relates to the previous decade. :unsure:

How many of the 7/7 Suicide bombers were British? By your logic the UK Government must therefore support these terrorists as they happened to be British

Plenty of Saudis have died at the hands of Al Qaeda which is why the Govt had a massive crackdown and drove them effectively from the COuntry. No one denies Al Qaeda was predominatly a Saudi organisation in its origins.

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  • 311 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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