Archive for October 29th, 2014

Interview with an Islamic State Recruiter: ‘Democracy Is For Infidels’

Interview Conducted by Hasnain Kazim
Spiegel Online

How does Islamic State think? How do its followers see the world? SPIEGEL ONLINE met up with an Islamic State recruiter in Turkey to hear about the extremist group’s vision for the future.

The conditions laid out by the Islamist are strict: no photos and no audio recording. He also keeps his real name secret as well as his country of origin, and is only willing to disclose that he is Arab. His English is polished and he speaks with a British accent.

He calls himself Abu Sattar, appears to be around 30 years old and wears a thick, black beard that reaches down to his chest. His top lip is shaved as is his head and he wears a black robe that stretches all the way to the floor. He keeps a copy of the Koran, carefully wrapped in black cloth, in his black leather bag.

Abu Sattar recruits fighters for the terrorist militia Islamic State in Turkey. Radical Islamists travel to Turkey from all over the world to join the “holy war” in Iraq or Syria and Abu Sattar examines their motives and the depth of their religious beliefs. Several Islamic State members independently recommended Abu Sattar as a potential interview partner — as someone who could explain what Islamic State stands for. Many see him as something like an ideological mentor.

He only agreed to an interview following a period of hesitation. But after agreeing to a time and saying he would name a place in due time, he let the appointment fall through. The next day, though, he arranged another meeting time, to take place in a public venue. And this time, he appears: a man with brown eyes behind frameless glasses. He seems self-confident and combative. He orders a tea and, throughout the duration of our meeting, slides his wooden prayer beads through his hands. Read the rest of this entry »


UM should withdraw its police report, admit it has made a colossal blunder in the campus lockdown and power black-out and enlist student/alumni/academician support to restore academic freedom to regain international repute for academic excellence

The University of Malaya should withdraw its police report allegedly over “trespass” on its grounds when students and supporters defied a lockdown and blackout of the university campus on Monday night to attend Anwar Ibrahim’s talk on “40 years: From UM to prison” at Dataran Dewan Tunku Canselor.

The University of Malaya administration should take an enlightened attitude to what happened on Monday, admit it had made a colossal blunder in the lockdown and power black-out of University of Malaya and enlist the support of university students, alumni, academicians and the Malaysian public to restore academic freedom to regain the university’s international repute for academic excellence in its early decades.

Of course, the university administration can go on a witch-hunt and vengeful campaign to penalise students and even academicians for what happened on Monday night, but this would be an even greater disservice to its national and international reputation and would do nothing to restore its repute as the country’s premier university. Read the rest of this entry »


Call on Najib to announce a “zero tolerance” policy for any threat to burn any holy books of any religion in Malaysia to be a role model of moderation for other countries as part of his Global Movement of Moderates campaign

The explanation by the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) on Monday on why the Attortney-General Tan Sri Gani Patail has not prosecuted the Perkasa President Ibrahim Ali for his threat to burn the Malay-language Bible has added salt to the wound, as it failed not only to win over doubters but have been received with scorn and rejected outright by majority of the critics.

What is worse, it reinforced the perception that the AGC’s arguments that Ibrahim Ali should enjoy immunity and impunity from legal sanctions because he was defending the sanctity of Islam and was protected by Article 11(4) of the Constitution were not only shallow, superficial and cock-eyed but reflects a Public Prosecutor who has failed in his duties to be a responsible and trustworthy upholder of the rule of law and the protector of inter-racial and inter-religious unity and harmony in a multi-racial, multi-cultural and multi-religious nation.

The Monday statement from the AGC said Ibrahim had made the threat of burning the Bible “in the context of an incident in Jelutong, Penang, where copies of the Bible were distributed to members of the public, including Muslims” and “After the context had been studied as a whole, Ibrahim Ali’s statement does not fall into the category of having seditious tendencies”.

Does this mean that there are certain “context” where it is fully permissible to threaten the burning of the Bible? Read the rest of this entry »


Malaysia’s Dog Issue – A Petty Problem?

October 27, 2014

On Sunday, 19 October 2014, as I was scrolling through Facebook posts, one image struck me in a way no other has in a long time. I have several Malaysians on my friends list, so it is not unusual for me to see pictures of hijabed Malaysian women show up in my news feed.

But this one of a young Malay woman, her head covered with a yellow tudung, was completely different. It accompanied a Malaysian Insider report headlined ‘ ‘I want to touch a dog’ event an attempt to insult Malaysia’s clerics’. What was striking about the image was that it showed this woman actually holding a dog, a Pomeranian, its open mouth, tongue dangling, just inches from her smiling face.

The event was held in the middle class suburb of Bandar Utama just outside Kuala Lumpur, and drew hundreds of participants. It was aimed to break the taboo that many Malaysian Muslims have against dogs, remind participants that dogs are God’s creatures, too, and educate them about dog rescue and cleansing practices after handling a dog.

I instantly recognized the subversive value of the image. A Malay touching a dog? But we are told that Malays don’t touch dogs because they believe their religion, Islam,—in particular the Shafi’i school of Sunni Islam that is practiced in Malaysia—tells them that dogs are unclean. Read the rest of this entry »


Anwar brought out the worst in UM

– Thulsi Manogaran
The Malaysian Insider
28 October 2014

It has been long written by William O. Douglas that the most important aspect of freedom of speech is the freedom to learn. All education is a continuous dialogue comprising of questions and answers that pursue every problem on the horizon. That is the essence of academic freedom.

I am not a big fan of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim but I stand for academic freedom and freedom of speech. Anything that curtails the intellectual growth of my fellow Malaysians is a barrier to the nation’s growth.

I stand against suppression and indoctrination especially in the field of education. By now, we all know the reaction from Universiti Malaya’s administration on the close down of the entire university. UM staff were sent home early and classes cancelled. All entrances were locked.

However, what happened thereafter in UM is proof that no amount of suppression can work to curtail progress and change. Malaysia’s social landscape is changing and it is time those in power remember and accept the fact that you are in control because we, the rakyat, gave you control. Read the rest of this entry »


No end to history?

by Narayan Ramachandran
October 13, 2014

While liberal democracy may be the least imperfect system yet known to man, it is not very clear whether mankind will pursue this desirable destination without long and costly detours.

Twenty-two years ago, American political scientist and author, Yoshihiro Francis Fukuyama wrote a treatise on western liberal democracy called The End of History and The Last Man. Fukuyama wrote with authority and confidence and argued that the dominance of western liberal democracy may well signal the arrival of a ‘final’ type of government – an end to the historical evolution of political systems.

Fukuyama claimed to have been inspired by Alexendre Kojeve, a Russian-French philosopher of Hegelian persuasion – who coined the term the “End of History”. Read the rest of this entry »

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