March 2014

by Ayesha Chaudhry, The Globe and Mail, March 27, 2014

Muslims have a problem with domestic violence. Let me be clear – most think it’s a terrible thing. But the troubling fact remains that it’s difficult for Muslims to argue that all forms of domestic violence are religiously prohibited. That is because a verse in our sacred scripture can be interpreted as allowing husbands to hit their wives.

This verse, found in Chapter 4, Verse 34, has been historically understood as saying that husbands can admonish disobedient wives, abandon them in bed and even strike them physically. This verse creates a conundrum for modern Muslims who believe in gender equality and do not believe that husbands have the right to discipline their wives at all, never mind hit them. How can devout Muslims both speak out against domestic violence and be faithful to a religious text that permits wife-beating?

As it turns out, the way out of this problem lies not only in the Koran itself – but in the very verse. (more…)

المصدر أونلاين – خاص
الأحد 30 مارس 2014 03:47:10 صباحًا

بث تنظيم القاعدة في جزيرة العرب في ساعة متأخرة من مساء يوم السبت مقطعاً فيديو لحفل استقبال السجناء الفارين في الهجوم على السجن المركزي بصنعاء منتصف شهر فبراير الماضي.

وأظهر المقطع المتجزأ لأكثر من تسجيل عشرات من عناصر التنظيم وعدد من القادة في بلدة جبلية وعرة باليمن، بعد أيام من بث صور للحفل، وكشفت تسجيلات للسجناء الفارين معلومات عن دخول مواد لتصنيع القنابل اليدوية.

وأظهرت لقطات من المقطع رجالاً ملثمين مصطفين بأسلحتهم في طريق ضيق أمام سيارات تحمل السجناء الفارين ويطلق عدد منهم الرصاص في الهواء مع صرخات التكبير بالتزامن مع ترديد المسلحين للزوامل والهتافات الترحيبية.

ويعكس إطلاق النار والصراخ حالة من الاطمئنان والتحصن في المنطقة التي أقام بها تنظيم القاعدة لحفل الاستقبال فضلاً عن تواجد عدد من القادة المطلوبين للحكومة اليمنية ولواشنطن.


There are many postcards on the Internet from old Aden under British control. This continues the series with views of the harbor.

to be continued… for #8, click here.

by Abdullah Hamidaddin,, March 28, 2014

Maha is a 10 year old girl. She is the youngest of twelve and is now getting ready for her big day. She is to be married to a man who is thirty seven years old. Her mother is packing her bag. It’s a small bag. The family is so poor that Maha barely has ten pieces of clothes all together. Before she closes the bag, the mother puts in two plastic dolls. Maha found them while foraging for toys with her friends in the trash of an upscale neighborhood in Sanaa. I wonder what the mother is thinking now. She must be happy that Maha will have three meals a day. Before her engagement, Maha would only eat one meal daily and sometimes she had to sleep hungry. Now things seem brighter than before. The father spent part of her dowry on some food to fatten Maha up. Her fiancé remarked that she was getting too thin, and her parents were worried that he would call off the engagement started so they started feeding her more. Maha of course didn’t understand why she was eating alone. Why her mother wouldn’t share her oat meal and fresh cow’s milk. Meat was too expensive; but they would make soup from the fat which butchers usually throw away or feed the stray cats with.

I can’t imagine what Maha is thinking right now. I can’t imagine what she will be thinking when she is in a bedroom with her husband. (more…)

On Flickr there is a nice photo montage of plants and animals in the United Arab Emirates. check it out here. This was put up by Thorsten Gerald Schneiders, who has several photostreams about the UAE.

“Don’t debate religion with fundamentalists: what they need is rehabilitation”

by Saad A Sowayan

Fundamentalism is a cultural phenomenon, though it dons religious garbs. It is a mode of consciousness shaped by cultural values, not religious principles. Thus we can understand it only if we examine it in its cultural context as a sociological rather than a theological question.

So, I will begin by taking a close look at the social incubators most likely to hatch fundamentalism.

I understand by fundamentalism strong adherence to an archetypal point of view and a fierce conviction of its fundamental truth, to the exclusion of any other alternate idea. Any alternative is resisted by a fundamentalist and treated not as a legitimate substitute stemming from a rational free choice, but as a detrimental antithesis of the fundamental truth of the archetype. The archetype is a model to be emulated and reproduced, not dissected or scrutinized. (more…)

Damsels in distress, the chivalrous caliph, and the misogynistic scholar: a modern fairy tale

from A Sober Second Look, March 15, 2014

A long time ago, in a galaxy that is unfortunately not nearly as far away from me as I would like, I was taught that the reason for all the problems that women face today—especially in “the West”—is that relations between men and women are seriously out of balance.

Western women have been misled into rejecting their divinely created feminine natures. They don’t value marriage and motherhood, and try to emulate men by cutting their hair short and wearing masculine-style clothes and having careers and being promiscuous. Therefore, men are understandably put off by them, can’t respect them, feel emasculated by them, and don’t want to marry them. As a result, the family is in disarray, single motherhood and juvenile delinquency are on the rise, men feel lost and confused, and women are wondering where all the good men have gone. But (we were told) there is a simple answer to all these problems: Return to Islam. Go back to “the True Teachings of the Qur’aan and the Sunnah” (as the Salafis would phrase it), or to “Sacred Tradition” (as the neo-traditionalists would say). To the fitra—the innate, divinely given nature of every human being, which says that “true” men are hyper-masculine and “real,” god-fearing women are ultra-feminine… and anything that doesn’t fit into that binary view of gender is just laughable. Go back. Nothing else works. Anything else is rebellion against God. (more…)

Alfred Thayer Mahan (1840-1914)

The American admiral Alfred Thayer Mahan is often noted as the man who coined the phrase “Middle East.” After he served in the U.S. Navy on the Union side, he sailed to Hong Kong and passed by the port of Aden in 1867. His comments are brief and reflective more of his own biases than anything significant about Aden. He does provide an interesting description of camels. His narrative is available on, but I attach here the relevant pages on Aden.

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