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10 March 2014

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I have been receiving calls from the Turkish Prime Minister, Mr Recep Tayyip Erdogan; the Governor of Bangkok, Mr Sukumbhan Paribatra; former President of Indonesia, Mr Jusuf Habibie and renowned Islamic Scholar, Dr Yusul al-Qaradawi since the Appeal Court judgment on the 7th of March. They have all expressed grave concerns over the manner on how the case was rushed and the subsequent ruling.

I was also visited by the American Ambassador to Malaysia, Mr Joseph Yun and his political officers at my residence on the 9th of March who have also express similar concerns. They have committed to convey these to President Obama soon.

Anwar Ibrahim

31 December 2013

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The results for the 2012 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) that were presented in early December showed that of the 10 countries that topped the performance, not one of them is a Muslim country. As a matter of fact, of the final results tabled, not one Muslim country was placed in the top 40.

Half a million pupils in 65 countries and local administrations were tested in the three core areas of mathematics, science and reading. Shanghai scored the best result with 613, followed by Singapore and Japan.

With the exception of Turkey which took the 43rd spot scoring the highest among the Muslim countries followed by UAE, of the rest of the Muslim countries that took part such as Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Qatar, Jordan, Tunisia and Indonesia, suffice to say that they were placed within the bottom 50 and 60 jostling with Columbia, Peru and Albania for the award of worst performer!

Before anyone jumps the gun by blaming this OECD study as essentially biased and Eurocentric, let us be reminded the top three performers are Asian. It is indeed noteworthy that the results for 2012, 2010, and the 2009 Assessment showed that Shanghai students scored the highest in all categories.

According to the OECD, this study considers Shanghai a pioneer of educational reform, having transformed their approach to education. Instead of focusing merely on the elite, it appears they have adopted a more inclusive system. In other words, the democratization of access to quality education is a key factor.

Below is the table for the 2012 results:

Programme for International Student Assessment (2012)
Maths Sciences Reading
1 Shanghai, China 613 1 Shanghai, China 580 1 Shanghai, China 570
2 Singapore 573 2 Hong Kong, China 555 2 Hong Kong, China 545
3 Hong Kong, China 561 3 Singapore 551 3 Singapore 542
4 Taiwan 560 4 Japan 547 4 Japan 538
5 South Korea 554 5 Finland 545 5 South Korea 536
6 Macau, China 538 6 Estonia 541 6 Finland 524
7 Japan 536 7 South Korea 538 7 Taiwan 523
8 Liechtenstein 535 8 Vietnam 528 8 Canada 523
9 Switzerland 531 9 Poland 526 9 Ireland 523
10 Netherlands 523 10 Liechtenstein 525 10 Poland 518
11 Estonia 521 11 Canada 525 11 Liechtenstein 516
12 Finland 519 12 Germany 524 12 Estonia 516
13 Canada 518 13 Taiwan 523 13 Australia 512
14 Poland 518 14 Netherlands 522 14 New Zealand 512
15 Belgium 515 15 Ireland 522 15 Netherlands 511
16 Germany 514 16 Macau, China 521 16 Macau, China 509
17 Vietnam 511 17 Australia 521 17 Switzerland 509
18 Austria 506 18 New Zealand 516 18 Belgium 509
19 Australia 504 19 Switzerland 515 19 Germany 508
20 Ireland 501 20 Slovenia 514 20 Vietnam 508
21 Slovenia 501 21 United Kingdom 514 21 France 505
22 Denmark 500 22 Czech Republic 508 22 Norway 504
23 New Zealand 500 23 Austria 506 23 United Kingdom 499
24 Czech Republic 499 24 Belgium 505 24 United States 498
25 France 495 25 Latvia 502 25 Denmark 496
26 United Kingdom 494 26 France 499 26 Czech Republic 493
27 Iceland 493 27 Denmark 498 27 Austria 490
28 Latvia 491 28 United States 497 28 Italy 490
29 Luxembourg 490 29 Spain 496 29 Latvia 489
30 Norway 489 30 Lithuania 496 30 Luxembourg 488
31 Portugal 487 31 Norway 495 31 Portugal 488
32 Italy 485 32 Italy 494 32 Spain 488
33 Spain 484 33 Hungary 494 33 Hungary 488
34 Russia 482 34 Luxembourg 491 34 Israel 486
35 Slovakia 482 35 Croatia 491 35 Croatia 485
36 United States 481 36 Portugal 489 36 Iceland 483
37 Lithuania 479 37 Russia 486 37 Sweden 483
38 Sweden 478 38 Sweden 485 38 Slovenia 481
39 Hungary 477 39 Iceland 478 39 Lithuania 477
40 Croatia 471 40 Slovakia 471 40 Greece 477
41 Israel 466 41 Israel 470 41 Russia 475
42 Greece 453 42 Greece 467 42 Turkey 475
43 Serbia 449 43 Turkey 463 43 Slovakia 463
44 Turkey 448 44 UAE 448 44 Cyprus 449
45 Romania 445 45 Bulgaria 446 45 Serbia 446
46 Cyprus 440 46 Serbia 445 46 UAE 442
47 Bulgaria 439 47 Chile 445 47 Thailand 441
48 UAE 434 48 Thailand 444 48 Chile 441
49 Kazakhstan 432 49 Romania 439 49 Costa Rica 441
50 Thailand 427 50 Cyprus 438 50 Romania 438
51 Chile 423 51 Costa Rica 429 51 Bulgaria 436
52 Malaysia 421 52 Kazakhstan 425 52 Mexico 424
53 Mexico 413 53 Malaysia 420 53 Montenegro 422
54 Montenegro 410 54 Uruguay 416 54 Uruguay 411
55 Uruguay 409 55 Mexico 415 55 Brazil 410
56 Costa Rica 407 56 Montenegro 410 56 Tunisia 404
57 Albania 394 57 Jordan 409 57 Colombia 403
58 Brazil 391 58 Argentina 406 58 Jordan 399
59 Argentina 388 59 Brazil 405 59 Malaysia 398
60 Tunisia 388 60 Colombia 399 60 Argentina 396
61 Jordan 386 61 Tunisia 398 61 Indonesia 396
62 Colombia 376 62 Albania 397 62 Albania 394
63 Qatar 376 63 Qatar 384 63 Kazakhstan 393
64 Indonesia 375 64 Indonesia 382 64 Qatar 388
65 Peru 368 65 Peru 373 65 Peru 384
                 

 

Take-home lessons

If we take ourselves off the intellectual pedestal, let us ask what lessons we can take home from this study, apart from other indicators in different studies.

Firstly, there is no basis for the conventional argument that because Muslim students have to attend extra classes for religious studies over and above the routine academic lessons in the schools, they have less time to study and prepare for exams and hence perform not as well as non-Muslim students. In Malaysia, for example, Chinese students who also attend extra classes for Chinese-based subjects over and above the national-type syllabus do just as well in both.

Pedagogy and quality of teaching

Finland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland were among the best of the European nations. Studies have shown that students from Finland produced very good results in various subjects when compared to students from the United States and other countries. This was attributed mainly to the fact that in Finland, the very best graduates were recruited to become teachers.

Also important is the question of content and curriculum, including pedagogy. The quality of teachers is a matter of concern. The teaching profession needs to be given greater priority by the state.  A proper incentive scheme must be introduced and to restore the profession to its earlier recognition. As it stands, apart from infrastructure constraints, Muslim countries suffer from a shortage of good teachers. But the issues should be more than that just a question of material resources.

Spending on education

The conventional belief that greater spending on education would yield better performance was also shown to be not always true. Thus, the analysis of the 2003 results showed that Australia, Belgium, Canada, Finland, Japan and South Korea, which had spent less on education than the United States actually did better. While this should not be taken as an excuse to spend less on education, allocation of such funds for Muslim countries must be beefed up with the rider that the resources are to be spent effectively.

Governance

The issue of governance remains a serious problem in Muslim countries. For example, cases of misappropriation of funds allocated for poorer students continue to be a source of embarrassment. Poor governance also breeds corruption which then leads to wastages and leakages. Where financial resources get mis-channelled or misused, schools suffer and students become victims.

Bad governance in the running of schools also impacts on the quality of teaching when for example school authorities haphazardly transfer teachers to other areas without considering the effect on both the teaching and the teachers themselves.

Confucian ethic

Yet another lesson is probably the obvious one considering that the top three performances are connected one way or the other to the Confucian model of learning. Surely, Muslim countries should be able to draw some lessons from this phenomenon. Muslim intellectuals worth their salt must get off their high horse and study the Confucian model, adapt it according to Muslim requirements, if need be, and start preaching a culture of diligence in the pursuit of knowledge. The defensive response about reminding people of Islam’s glorious history of learning and advancements in science serves no purpose if all it does is encourage us to rest on past laurels.

Conclusion

While it is known that Muslim countries are facing a crisis in higher education, this study is significant in showing that even in the formative mid-secondary school stage, we are seeing a crisis of alarming proportions. The fact of the matter is that Muslim countries are occupying the bottom rungs in higher education and advancement in science and technology. The PISA results are therefore a precursor to worse things to come.

Failure to take immediate remedial action may lead to a deeper crisis. In this regard, we call on the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to take the lead in addressing this problem.

ANWAR IBRAHIM

27th December, 2013

12 December 2013

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Keynote address by Anwar Ibrahim at the Symposium on “Reform of Higher Education in Muslim Societies,” organized by the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) on December 9-10, 2013 at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington, DC.

Introduction

The crisis in higher education in Muslim societies is manifested in myriad ways not the least of which are impacting socioeconomic development. Among the root causes of the crisis are those related to choice, content, quality and financial resources and issues of governance.

It is said that Islamic education has not progressed much from its traditional form with its emphasis on Qur’anic and Hadith studies and while other societies have transformed their systems, Muslim countries are still grappling with the challenges of integrating within modern education.

Another major concern is the accessibility of education to the people. The need to democratize access to education has been canvassed for some time but this has remained a long-standing problem in Muslim countries.

It is obvious that the traditional system, without more, is unable to meet the needs of contemporary Muslim societies what with the additional pressures of globalization and the increasing need for education to produce problem-solving capacities. I believe all these issues are being discoursed in our two-day symposium and as such I shall confine my address today to the conceptual issues pertaining to the ummah and the intellectual crisis.

The economics of education

To begin with, there is a general perception in the discourse among many Muslim scholars that Western education and philosophy is secular and bereft of an ethical and moral dimension. To my mind, this is unfounded.

In John Locke’s An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, it is clear that the driving concern is morality which for him, “is the one area apart from mathematics wherein human reasoning can attain a level of rational certitude.”[1]

In The Theory of Moral Sentiments, which debunks the notion of him being the free market fundamentalist, Adam Smith asserts:

How selfish soever man may be supposed, there are evidently some principles in his nature, which interest him in the fortunes of others, and render their happiness necessary to him, though he derives nothing from it, except the pleasure of seeing it.

Expounding his moral philosophy, Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen is of the view that Adam Smith has two fundamental propositions on the functioning of the economic system in general, and of the market in particular. The first principle, being epistemological, is that human beings are not guided only by self-gain or even prudence. The second is one of practical reason: That there are good ethical and practical grounds for encouraging motives other than self-interest.

According to Professor Sen, Smith argues that while “prudence” was “of all virtues that which is most helpful to the individual”, “humanity, justice, generosity, and public spirit, are the qualities most useful to others”.

The point is that these are principles about which “unfortunately, a big part of modern economics gets both of them wrong in interpreting Smith.” Making him out as an advocate of pure capitalism, with complete reliance on the market mechanism guided by pure profit motive, is altogether misconceived.[2]

So, it appears that the misperceptions are not only pervasive among Muslim scholars but even among Western scholars in this regard, Smith – the icon of ‘capitalism’ – has been seriously misread.

Coming back to our original concern, I believe these ‘moral sentiments’ are not at loggerheads with Islamic precepts. After all, the guiding principle in political economy as summed up by al-Marhum Ismail al-F?r?q? is that economic action is the expression of Islam’s spirituality: The economy of the ummah and its good health are of the essence of Islam just as Islam’s spirituality is inexistent without just economic action.[3]

According to al-F?r?q?, if charity is to serve as a tool of religion whose purpose is the well-being of mankind, then it must have for its object goods of economic value. Religion, therefore, seeks to subject Man’s economic behaviour to the norms of morality. Islam, the religion of world-affirmation par excellence, seeks to order human life so as to make it actualize the pattern intended for it by its Creator. Hence the Islamic dictum: Inna al din al mu’amalah (Religion is indeed man’s treatment of his fellows).[4]

In looking at the economics of education, while the profit motive may be a legitimate factor, it cannot be driven purely by self-gain. On the contrary in line with the Islamic dictum on charity as expounded by al-F?r?q?, where the purpose of religion is the well-being of mankind, the promotion of education must be conducted as a virtue at par with such other virtues as “humanity, justice, generosity, and public spirit.”

Going back to first principles

It is important to remind ourselves that Muslim societies will not be able to progress by merely resting on the laurels of its time honoured labels. It is doubtful indeed that anything productive can emerge from the exercise of finding fault with the Western systems. The crisis in higher education – and for that matter, crisis in education at all levels – is most acute in Muslim countries, not in the West.

In fact, in the West, much less is said about the need for moral rectitude and ethical behaviour in education, yet the universities are at the forefront in producing the most sought after graduates, and in research and development. In saying this, I am not suggesting that moral rectitude and ethical behaviour in education are irrelevant but that this has to be seen in deed and action, not in proclamation of intentions.

In analysing the causes of the decline of the ummah be it in the field of education or any other field of significance, we should do away with the defensive mind-set that seems to have exemplified Muslim writers. Though Islamophobia is indeed a real problem, it is nevertheless not a cause or a factor that may be legitimately linked to the decline.

In this regard, going back to first principles is a better recourse. The Qur’an reminds us:

“Similar situations [as yours] have passed on before you, so proceed throughout the earth and observe how was the end of those who denied.” (Ali Imran: 137)

It is clear that much can be learned from the lessons of history. Malik Bennabi’s central thesis is indeed relevant concerning the need for original ideas and that a vibrant progressive society may emerge only if it can break free from the tradition of intellectual retardation.[5]

Bennabi tells us that a society’s wealth is not measured by material possessions but by ideas and that it is only from creative ideas alone that great strides in civilization were made.[6]

In the area of scientific and technological advancement, it bears recalling that Bennabi was already advocating the importance of the inculcation of skills and competencies in all fields as well as vocational and technical training for the ummah. And this is absolutely essential for the ummah to move ahead with the times.[7]

Education, rationality and ijtihad

Education must proceed on the basis of rationality and with that ijtihad. I am using this term in the sense as explained by Al-F?r?q?, where he has said:

As a methodical principle, rationalism is constitutive of the essence of Islamic civilization. … Rationalism does not mean the priority of reason over revelation but the rejection of any ultimate contradiction between them.[8]

Al-F?r?q? presented Islam as the religion par excellence of reason, science, and progress with a strong emphasis on action and the work ethic. Any suggestion that the advocacy of rationality in the articulation of educational policies and principles is grounded in secular thinking is therefore without foundation.[9]

For the advancement of the ummah, Al-F?r?q? advocates the fundamental processes of tajdid and islah in order to renew and reform the educational system.

To move ahead with the changing times is not tantamount to abandoning first principles or a rejection of tradition. Professor Naquib al-Attas, always mindful of the need to reassert the primacy of Islam as an intellectual tradition, persuasively argues that real modern education cannot be separated from the categories of knowledge fundamental to the Islamic tradition whereas contemporary modern knowledge should be freed from its secular-bound interpretations.[10]

To al-Attas, the major cause of not just of the crisis of Muslim education but the general retrogression of the ummah is the failure to inculcate ta?dib, which is the cultivation of the inner dimensions of the self, centering on the spirit of knowledge and education.

To my mind, and in this regard, it might constitute a contrarian view, rather than viewing it as a clash of views, I see a convergence of approaches between al-F?r?q? and al-Attas. If I may use the analogy of the Baytu l-?ar?m, there are various entrances to the holiest of holy sites in Islam but by which ever entrance used, the ultimate destination remains the Ka’aba. In both their approaches, we can discern a unified concern for the revivification of Islamic knowledge and thought.

That concern was not entirely new. From the time of Muhammad ‘Abduh, the call for change was couched in the language of modernity. Even back then there was the suspicion of ‘Abduh attempting to introduce secularism through the back door of ijtih?d but we know that such allegations are misconceived. On the contrary, what ‘Abduh did was to subject the moral and epistemological premises of secular modernity to scrutiny and he came to the conclusion that Islam’s modernity was both non-Western and non-secular.[11]

Allama Iqbal reminded us of the inadequacy of fiqh for the requirements of his time and called for ijtih?d. In doing so, he rightly cautioned that in the area of legislation for the State, ijtih?d should be undertaken as a collective enterprise and not individuals going on their own ways.[12]

Nevertheless, it would be timely to reconsider the constraints on the adoption of the ijtihad, including those advocated by Iqbal, removing them and allowing the doctrine to apply beyond legal matters into the realm of everyday life.

In this regard, we are in complete agreement with Sheikh Taha’s call for the revival of knowledge based on divine revelation against blind imitation of supposedly modern curricula in all areas of education where the dissemination of knowledge appears to be deliberately divorced from Islam’s core values.[13]

One must not forget that taqlid can also refer to blind imitation of the West and falling prey, even subconsciously, to the influence of the biases latent in the language of discourse. Hence, the need to propound alternative views and articulate a greater degree of independent thinking.[14]

The caveat against blind adoption of liberal views was sounded by Fazlur Rahman: “Universal values are the crux of the being of a society: the debate about the relativity of moral values in a society is born of a liberalism that in the process of liberalisation has become so perverted as to destroy those very moral values that it set out to liberate from the constraints of dogma.”[15]

A tentative prescription in the tradition of IIIT

In formulating a new prescription for Muslims one can do no better than to echo the calls made in the tradition of the International Institute of Islamic Thought on the Islamization of knowledge as pioneered by al-Marhum Ismail al-F?r?q?. I use the word ‘echo’ deliberately with the rider that a fresh interpretation is called for in order to do justice to the purport of this approach. This fresh interpretation is in tandem with the commitment to the core values of Islam.

In my humble view, this is necessary because in failing to do justice to these fundamental principles, certain scholars and ulema have confounded the plain message of the Qur’an and the Sunnah. They call for the adoption of the Shari’ah without a deeper understanding of the maqasid, giving preference to scholastic views and speculative opinions, many of which rely on unauthentic hadith and a skewered understanding of hudud law.[16] Indeed, this is clearly contrary to the clear message of the Qur’an:

“This [Qur'an] is a clear statement to [all] the people and a guidance and instruction for those conscious of Allah.” (Ali Imran: 138)

Though we would expect it to be taken for granted, yet it is imperative to remind ourselves that the Qur??n is more than just a moral code. Indeed it is a universal guide for the community. If we take the definition of education as a social extension of culture and culture as a definitive or core ingredient of civilization, then this approach of the Islamization of knowledge will lead to a truly holistic adoption of Islam’s core values. This indeed will be the best answer to the question what is the Islamic weltanschauung:

“You are the best nation produced [as an example] for mankind. You enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and believe in Allah.” (Ali Imran: 110)

Secondly, to my mind, there is some substance in the observation that in the current approach to the Islamization of knowledge endeavour, there is a preponderance of focus on the social sciences while the crisis of the ummah in practical terms can be traced to it being technologically and scientifically lagging behind the non-Muslim communities.[17]

The project should therefore be broadened to attract more scholars and participants from the physical sciences and in time this will add a more balanced critical mass to the intellectual force. After all, the Bayt al-Hikmah of the Golden Age of Islam gave birth to not just philosophers but eminent scientists. In fact, the bifurcation between the two was not the norm as the holistic pursuit of knowledge saw the genesis of “philosopher-scientists” competent in a wide spectrum of intellectual disciplines.[18] At the core of this focus, I believe, is the divine injunction on the use of the intellectual faculty.

Thus, the Qur’an enjoins the use of reason to ascertain the truth as provided by the senses, and truth grounded on revelation:

“And He has subjected to you whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth – all from Him. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought.” (al-Jathiyah:13)

Finally, we must consider it a jihad to free ourselves from a new shroud of ignorance that has been cast upon the ummah. Shaykh Muhammad al-Ghazali reminds us that “ignorance combined with bigotry and caprice are a great misfortune.” The antidote to this is the pursuit of knowledge which will widen our horizons and strengthen our resolve and will-power for individuals as well as communities.[19]

Thank you.


[1] Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy –  http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/locke-moral/ An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, in P.H. Nidditch (ed.), An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, based on the fourth edition, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1975.

[2] http://www.newstatesman.com/ideas/2010/04/smith-market-essay-sentiments

[3] Ismail Raji al Faruqi, Al Tawhid: Its Implications for Thought and Life, 2nd ed., Herndon: IIIT, 1992, p. 157

[4] Ibid. at p.170

[5] Badrane Benlahcene, The Socio-Intellectual Foundations of Malek Bennabi’s Approach To Civilisation, IIIT, 2011

[6] Malik Bennabi, Mushkilat al Afkar fil Alam al Islami, trans. M Ali, Cairo: Maktabat Amar, 1971, 56

[7] Abdulaziz Berghout, The Concept of Culture and Cultural Transformation: Views of Malik Bennabi, Intellectual Discourse, 2001 Vol. 9, No 1, pp. 78-79

[8] Ismail R. al Faruqi and Lois Lamya al Faruqi, Cultural Atlas of Islam, Macmillan Publishing Company: New York, 1986, pp.78-79

[9] Islam and Knowledge: Al Faruqi’s Concept Of Religion In Islamic Thought, ed. Imtiyaz Yusuf, I.B. Tauris in association with IIIT and the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Centre for Muslim-Christian Understanding, Georgetown University, Washington 2012

[10] Prolegomena to the Metaphysics of Islam: An Exposition of the Fundamental Elements of the Worldview of Islam, Kuala Lumpur: International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization, 1995

[11] Tradition and Modernity – Christian and Muslim Perspectives, ed. David Marshall, Georgetown University Press, 2013, Chapter on “Muhammad ‘Abduh – A Sufi-inspired Modernist?” by Vincent J. Cornell p.108

[12] Muhammad Iqbal, The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, Kitab Bhavan, 2000

[13] Taha J. al-Alwani, Islamic Thought: An Approach To Reform

[14] Epistemological Bias in the Physical & Social Sciences, Edited by A. M. Elmessiri, IIIT

[15] Liberal Islam – A Sourcebook, ed. Charles Kruzman, Oxford University Press, 1998, Ch. 31 on Fazlur Rahman’s Islam and Modernity p.317

[16] Mohammad Omar Farooq, Toward Our Reformation: From Legalism to Value-Oriented Islamic Law and Jurisprudence, IIIT, 2011

[17] Seyyed Vali Reza Nasr, “Islamization of Knowledge: A Critical Overview”, Islamic Studies Vol. 30, No. 3 (Autumn 1991), pp. 387-400

[18] Nasr, Seyyed Hossein. “The Teaching of Philosophy.” In Philosophy, Literature, and Fine Arts, edited by Seyyed Hossein Nasr, pp. 3–21. Islamic Education Series. Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, 1982

[19] Shaykh  Muhammad al-Ghazali, A Thematic Commentary on the Qur’an, trans. Ashur A. Shamis, rev. Zaynab Alawiye, IIIT, 2000, pp. 516-517

24 November 2013

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Yahoo.com

Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) (AFP) – A notorious Malaysian wildlife trafficker dubbed the “Lizard King” for his smuggling of endangered reptiles is back in business, according to an Al Jazeera report that prompted outraged wildlife activists on Friday to demand action.

Anson Wong was arrested in August 2010 at Kuala Lumpur’s international airport while attempting to smuggle 95 endangered boa constrictors to Indonesia.

He was sentenced to five years in jail, but a Malaysian appeals court freed him in 2012, sparking an outcry.

Malaysian authorities had said in the wake of Wong’s arrest that his licences for legitimate wildlife trading were revoked.

But, in an investigative report, Al Jazeera said Wong and his wife Cheah Bing Shee were believed to be trading albino pythons and other wildlife from their base in the northern Malaysian state of Penang.

Trade in the pythons requires a permit, said the report by the Qatar-based network, which saw journalist Steve Chao go undercover to talk with wildlife dealers and associates of Wong’s.

The report, called “Return of the Lizard King” and aired late Thursday, said documents also revealed shell companies used by Wong to hide his activities.

Illegal trade in wildlife is thought to be worth at least $19 billion a year worldwide, according to conservation groups.

Outraged conservationists demanded action from the government and expressed shock over the lax attitude by the authorities for failing to monitor Wong.

“The ‘Return of the Lizard King’ raises so many doubts and questions about Malaysia’s commitment to that fight. It is time we had some solid answers from government,” Shenaaz Khan, an official with wildlife-trade monitoring network Traffic, said in a statement.

Traffic views the revelations about Wong’s post-prison activities with deep concern, and seeks a credible explanation on his apparent ability to continue trading wildlife despite government promises to the contrary, she said.

In Penang, Al Jazeera’s Chao confronted Wong on camera, but he declined to comment.

Several of Wong’s former associates also claimed that corrupt customs officials in Malaysia, Indonesia and Madagascar were helping to facilitate Wong’s activities, the report said.

In a press release, Al Jazeera said Chao and his team worked with anti-trafficking groups to track Wong’s Malaysian-based operation.

Kadir Hashim, enforcement director of Malaysia’s wildlife department, confirmed Wong’s permits remained revoked.

“The department is investigating both” Wong and Cheah, he said in an e-mail response to an AFP inquiry, without elaborating further.

Wong is described by wildlife groups as one of the world’s most active smugglers of wild animals.

He was sentenced to 71 months in jail in the United States in 2001 after pleading guilty to trafficking in endangered reptiles.

Despite efforts by Southeast Asian authorities to crack down on animal smuggling, the practice persists and poses a threat to a number of threatened species, conservationists say.

21 October 2013

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18 October 2013

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Herald Sun

Malaysian students in Adelaide have been warned off going to hear Malaysian politician Anwar Ibrahim during the Adelaide Festival of Ideas on Saturday.

An email sent on Monday to 90 Malaysian students in Adelaide warns “stern action” would be taken against them if they attended.

Anwar Ibrahim, who is due to fly in to Adelaide on Friday morning is world famous as a reforming politician in Malaysia, where he has been harassed and jailed on successive charges of homosexuality and sodomy, which he denies.

He is Leader of the Opposition in Malaysia and was invited to the Festival of Ideas to speak on Dissent and Democracy.

The email is addressed to JPA scholars, those who have received scholarships to study here funded by Malaysia’s Public Service Department.

The email is signed by Shahrezan MD Sheriff, student adviser at the Public Service Department, and advises students not to attend the meeting.

It reads: “You are smarter to think and focus on what matters rather than joining this activity that could make your hardship in maintaining good grades and earning the scholarship goes down the drain (sic).”

While the email’s authorship has not been confirmed and Shahrezan MD Sheriff did not return calls to the JPA office at the Malaysian Consulate, based in Sydney, it has caused consternation both in Australia and Malaysia.

The visit of Anwar Ibrahim was organised by the Festival of Ideas, together with the State Government, Flinders University and Senator Nick Xenophon.

Mr Xenophon said he had no doubt the email was real.

“When I first saw it I thought it was a hoax, but there’s no denial of it,” he said.

“This is not unusual. This is the story of intimidation that Malaysian students face all the time and now they are extending their harassment to Australia.

“That’s unacceptable, and that’s why I am about to send a letter to the Foreign Minister Julie Bishop about this because this is clearly intimidatory.”

Professor Clinton Fernandez, a Canberra-based expert on Malaysia, said ASIO should also be called in to investigate.

“This is clearly an intrusion in Australia’s domestic affairs and if he is employed by the Malaysian Government (Shahrezan) should be deported,” he said.

Mr Xenophon, who described Ibrahim as a beacon of hope for democracy in Malaysia and the entire South East Asian region, was himself deported and banned from Malaysia earlier this year.

The threatening email was greeted with derision on chat sites of the Anwar Ibrahim Club, both for its poor English and for its threatening tone. “We aren’t stupid anymore. Go to hell, government!” says one.

Mr Anwar’s official engagement is to appear in conversation with ABC broadcaster Waleed Aly at Elder Hall on Saturday, October 19 at 11.30am, hosted by Senator Nick Xenophon. Entry is free.

However, separate meetings have been organised in the city tomorrow and at Bradford Lodge, an international student hostel in Rose Park by the Anwar Ibrahim Club and Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia Adelaide on Saturday night.

It was not clear whether the threatening email was referring specifically to one or all of those events.

The 9th Adelaide Festival of Ideas continues until Sunday.

14 September 2013

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Press Advisory:

13 September 2013 (Bangkok, Thailand) -­- Justice Elizabeth Evatt AC, the first female judge to be appointed to an Australian Federal Court, a former member of the United Nations Human Rights Committee, and a commissioner of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), will be observing the hearing of the appeal of Anwar Ibrahim’s case from 17 to 18 September 2013 at the Court of Appeal in Putrajaya. The ICJ, a global organization based in Geneva, Switzerland, is composed of judges and lawyers who aim to promote and protect human rights through the rule of law, by using its unique legal expertise to develop and strengthen national and international justice systems.

Anwar Ibrahim is a Malaysian politician and is currently the leader of the opposition party, Parti Keadilan Rakyat, and the opposition alliance known as Pakatan Rakyat. The appeal hearing that Justice Elizabeth Evatt will be observing emerged from the 2008 charges filed against Anwar Ibrahim immediately after the general elections held that year. He was charged for allegedly committing sodomy, which is a crime under Section 377B of the Penal Code and carries the penalty of up to 20 years of imprisonment and whipping. The High Court acquitted Anwar Ibrahim on 9 January 2012.

This is the second time that Anwar Ibrahim is facing sodomy charges after his dismissal from the Malaysian Cabinet in 1998. In 2004, The ICJ also sent a representative to observe the sodomy trial of Anwar Ibrahim, where the Federal Court overturned the High Court decision to convict him. The ICJ called the Federal Court’s ruling “a step in the right direction in upholding the rule of law”.

Justice Evatt’s mandate as ICJ’s high-­level observer to the appeal hearing includes monitoring the fairness of the proceedings against Anwar Ibrahim in the light of relevant international standards. These standards include, among others the UN Basic Principles on the Independence of Judges, which set out standards on the independence and impartiality of judges, and the UN Guidelines on the Role of Prosecutors, which set out standards on the independence of prosecutors. Justice Evatt will also be evaluating whether the prosecution under Section 377B of the Malaysian Penal Code is being used in this case to suppress political dissent, contrary to the right to freedom of expression.

“The right to observe trials stems from the general right to promote and secure the protection and realization of human rights. Trial observation is a key tool in monitoring the respect for human rights and the rule of law. It is an effective method to examine the level of independence and impartiality of a country’s criminal justice system,” said Emerlynne Gil, ICJ’s International Legal Adviser on Southeast Asia. “Trial monitoring also serves to promote better compliance with both domestic law and international standards that aim to ensure protection of human rights, including the rights to fair trial and due process.”

For more information, please contact Ms. Emerlynne Gil, International Legal Advisor, tel. no. +662 6198477 ext. 206 or email: [email protected]

[Download original document : Press Advisory_Justice Evatt_Trial Observation_Anwar Ibrahim appeal hearing_13 September 2013.pdf]

17 August 2013

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The National Interest

When President Obama visited Cairo on June 4, 2009, he made a special point of declaring that he had come to establish a new beginning between the United States and the Arab world. This beginning, he said, would be based “upon mutual interest and mutual respect; and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive…they overlap, and share common principles—principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.” Now, in Egypt, an authoritarian government, headed by the military, is slaughtering followers of Islam, and what does Obama have to say?

Not much, it appears. What is emerging from the president and his advisers is a few worried murmurs of protest, coupled with studied indecision. Where are the human-rights activists such as UN ambassador Samantha Power? Where is national-security adviser Susan Rice who vowed to stick up for the oppressed after she remained silent during the genocide in Rwanda? Do they agree with Secretary of State John Kerry’s earlier assessment that the military is “restoring democracy” in Egypt?

Instead of protesting the Egyptian military’s actions, or even threatening to cut off military aid, the administration is refusing to deem the events in Egypt a coup. The Washington Posteditorial page says that the administration is “complicit” with the military’s actions. It adds,

It is difficult to imagine how the assault on the Brotherhood, which won multiple elections and is still supported by millions of Egyptians, can be followed by a credible transition to democracy. More likely, it will lead Egypt toward still greater violence. It may be that outside powers cannot now change this tragic course of events. But if the United States wishes to have some chance to influence a country that has been its close ally for four decades, it must immediately change its policy toward the armed forces.

If a serious case could be made that Egpyt is headed towards stable, authoritarian rule, it would be one thing. In that instance, it might be plausible to invoke Henry Kissinger’s famous comment about Chile and add that a country shouldn’t be allowed to go hardline Islamist. But the problem is this: Is Obama being a realist when it comes to Egypt? Or is he being utterly unrealistic about what the future holds for Washington’s ties with Cairo? America’s track record, when it comes to supporting corrupt and authoritarian regimes, particularly in the Middle East, is a mixed one. Obama, you could even say, is inadvertently doing what he said he wanted to end in his Cairo speech: “empower those who sow hatred rather than peace, and…promote conflict rather than the cooperation that can help all of our people achieve justice and prosperity.”

For Egypt appears to be headed toward, at best, an armed truce, and, at worst, a civil war. The Islamists are being further radicalized. America will be blamed. How does this end the “cycle of suspicion and discord” that Obama identified and lamented in June 2009?

Indeed, it may well be that the conflagration that the neoconservatives hoped would erupt in the Middle East is indeed erupting. Syria is already in flames. Now Egypt may be engulfed. How long can it be before Jordan is afflicted by the tumult?

Obama, aloof as ever, wants nothing to do with foreign policy. But a renewed debate is going to erupt in America over continuing aid to what amounts to an armed junta in Egypt. Senator Rand Paul was widely ridiculed when he proposed an amendment ending aid to Egypt, but perhaps he no longer looks so ridiculous at a moment when the Washington Post is calling for suspending it until the generals move to restore democracy. At a minimum, Obama should threaten suspension. Surely he does not want to go down in history as the enabler of tyranny?

There may not be much that America can do to calm Egypt, but Obama doesn’t even seem to be trying. Leon Trotsky once remarked, “You may not be interested in the dialectic, but the dialectic is interested in you.” Obama could be about to learn that he may not be interested in foreign affairs, but foreign affairs is interested in him.

16 August 2013

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Hurriyet Daily News

The attack of the Egyptian police and military on the supporters of the ousted president Mohamed Morsi gathered in Adawiya and Nahda squares of Cairo started in the early hours of Aug. 14, as it was started to be reported in social media a while before the international agencies.

The interim government had warned a few days ago that they would “gradually” put pressure on the demonstrators to empty the streets, but perhaps no one expected such a merciless attack by the security forces that resulted in killing of so many people. That may include governments who gave a silent approval to the military coup, which toppled the elected president of the country, like the U.S. and EU governments and those who applauded the coup, like Saudi Arabia and Qatar; they have a responsibility for yesterday’s massacre in Cairo.

Qatar condemned the yesterday’s move by the Egyptian security forces and joined Turkey to denounce it as “unacceptable”; perhaps thanks to a telephone call by Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davuto?lu. The first statements from the European Union were calling all political sides to “renounce violence,” as if it was same thing to have street demonstrations against a military coup and opening fire on them. Later on the statement from the EU was a more careful one asking the Egyptian security forces to stop attacking peaceful demonstrators.

But right after the attack, some of the protesters were no longer as peaceful as before, showing a reaction. The incidents quickly spread to other cities of Egypt in such a way that the interim government declared state of emergency, perhaps dragging the country a step closer to martial law. The United States’ condemnation of the killings was particularly against the declaration of the state of emergency, too.

Actually the country is being dragged into a civil war like Syria. Pointing at that threat, Turkish President Abdullah Gül said Egypt was getting down into chaos and it might take long years from now for the country to adopt democracy.

No one has ever seen such a situation before. A part of the Egyptian people are resisting against a coup, claiming their votes and do not want to lose the power they have achieved after decades, and part of the people are against the protesters, even supporting the military with the fear that the democratic majority could turn the country into a theocratic state; a terrible picture indeed.

Egypt, despite its thousands of years of history and tradition of statehood, has never experienced a democratic life. The Arab Spring, which resulted in the toppling of its former ruler Hosni Mubarak, was regarded as an opportunity for a journey toward a democratic life. It started to turn sour when Morsi felt that he could transform the long established Egyptian state apparatus into a Muslim Brotherhood machine overnight, and it took a big blow when the military, betraying its new boss, overthrew Morsi on July 3. Now it seems democracy in Egypt is a dream that cannot become true so quickly.

But it should be noted that this situation is no way sustainable for either the Egyptian military or the international community in support of them. The U.S. administration must see that the support that they give the military-backed interim government in Egypt will not be able to eradicate the Muslim Brotherhood, which has deep roots in the society, but it will possibly radicalize many proud and angry men and women in Egypt and in other Arab countries into the trenches of al-Qaeda and the like. That would be the bitter cost of the hypocrisy over the bloodshed in Egypt.

14 August 2013

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Al-Jazeera

Some are calling it a fitting end to political Islam, others ‘difficult moments’ and yet others equivocated about ‘military intervention’. So, why are the supposed flagship democracies like the US and the EU unable or unwilling to call a coup a coup? Germany did slightly better by describing what happened in Egypt as “a major setback for democracy in Egypt,” even as the rest of the West attempted to mask its diabolical positions by merely calling for restraint and the avoiding of violence.  But the failure to refer to it as a coup, let alone condemn it, bespeaks the double standards of these democracies.

Tunisia condemned the overthrow as a “flagrant coup”, which undermined democracy and would feed radicalism. In a speech in Istanbul on July 5th, Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan condemned it: “No matter where or against whom, coups are damaging, inhuman and against the people, national will and democracy.”

In this impassioned denunciation, Erdogan is not just giving a knee-jerk response but articulating Turkey’s lessons of history. It is in this shared past that Egypt may yet be able to find new hope for a destiny akin to Turkey’s, undoubtedly a thriving democracy with a painful and bitter history of military interventions.

Thus, in one fell swoop, the fragile edifice of Egypt’s newly minted constitutional democracy came tumbling down. No amount of window dressing – such as appointing a Supreme Court chief judge to head an ‘interim government’ – will change the fact that the iron hand of the military has turned back the clock of the Arab world’s most populous country.

Some have justified the June 30 military coup on the grounds that the January 25th Revolution of 2011 that ousted Mubarak was itself backed by the Egyptian army. But that analogy is false. While the Revolution saw the overthrow of a dictator who had ruled by force for close to three decades, this was the ouster of a president who had been democratically elected through free and fair elections. The contrast could not be more glaring: one had been in power because of the military. The other came to power with the people’s mandate but is forced out by the military.

Western silence

By remaining silent when the military issued its ultimatum to President Morsi, the West became complicit. The failure to condemn the coup after the fact sealed its culpability, reigniting the debate about inconsistencies in Western foreign policy when it concerns countries governed by democratically elected parties oriented towards political Islam.

Some commentators have talked about a clash between Islamists and liberals as being the main cause for the fall of Morsi. Egyptians, it is contended, do not want a Taliban-style government. Apart from the fact that there is little substance to that argument, it is also framed in a false context. Morsi did not fall – he was cut down by the military in a blatant coup. Furthermore, though there might have been some autocratic exuberance in passing that ill-fated presidential decree, equating Muslim Brotherhood with the Taliban betrays sheer ignorance or worse Islamophobia.

Closer to the truth perhaps is that remnants of the Mubarak regime have seized the day to take back the power that was being whittled down, not immediately in the aftermath of the revolution, but after the Muslim Brotherhood came to power. Indeed, it may be no exaggeration to say that a counter-revolution has been set in place by those forces bent on reasserting their lost glory.

All major appointments to office after the coup have been made by the military. Their names resonate with those who are not averse to seeing a return of Egypt’s praetorian past but send chills to those who had believed that Mubarak’s minions had been given a decent burial. The lessons of history are writ large here.

Turkey’s recent past reminds us of the unceasing attempts by the military to stage one coup after another in its bid to seize back power and privileges. The Turkish people were never handed democracy on a silver platter. Just as what we are witnessing now in Egypt, the Turkish people had to fight hard for it and even harder to keep it. It was fought with the blood, sweat and tears of those united by the love for freedom and democracy and the conviction that the role of the military must remain that of defending the nation’s realm, not determining the government of the day. That can only be done through the ballot box.

It was a heavy price to pay but the hardship and suffering under military rule was even heavier. As Prime Minister Erdogan puts it, “each military coup paralysed the economy of Turkey, wasted Turkey’s assets and caused the country, the nation, and especially the youth, to pay a heavy price.” Egyptians too paid their price for the revolution and now is being burdened once more to pay the price for defending it. This is exacted on the Egyptian people culminating tragically in the massacre of more than 100 pro-Morsi supporters and members of the Brotherhood around the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque in Cairo.

Army chief Gen Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and the leaders of the illegitimate interim government have blood on their hands and must be held to account. This slaughter of innocent people must be condemned. Attempts to justify the coup on ‘peculiar circumstances’ such as the incompetence of Morsi’s administration, its exclusivist nature, and the protests by millions of Egyptians, are facile and highly subjective.

Furthermore, reliable evidence has emerged indicating that many of the purported spontaneous street demonstrations demanding Morsi’s ouster were funded by foreign aid and regional state run bodies. In any event, since when could mass protests be a vindication of a military take over? In a democracy, pressure can always be brought to bear on a ruling government through street demonstrations so that it may be kept in check but a democratically elected government cannot be justifiably overthrown either by street protests or military cannons.

What’s next for Egypt? 

Talk of reconciliation is futile in as much as it is empty rhetoric. Calling for unity and reconciliation is one thing but when it emanates from the side that’s been the usurper it rings hollow. Reconciliation cannot proceed from a foundation of illegitimacy. Nor can it take place with a gun pointed against one’s head.

With the rest of justice minded and democracy loving advocates, I add my voice to the call on the West, particularly the United States to do the right thing. The billions in military and economic aid to Egypt should also be aid in the name of democracy and human rights, not in support of military coups. They must demand for the immediate release of President Morsi and his supporters. President Morsi must be reinstated to his rightful office and he in turn must immediately initiate a national dialogue that includes all sides.

This is not a failure of the revolution. This is a military coup in the borrowed garb of a people’s revolt, turning the Arab spring into its winter of discontent. The course of true democracy never did run smooth. What more a nascent democracy such as Egypt’s. Those democratically elected must be allowed to complete the tasks they were elected to do, or at very least where there is overwhelming demand from the people for a fresh mandate, be allowed to call for fresh elections. As long as they stay true to the constitutional process and uphold the rule of law, there is neither moral nor legal justification to remove them.

The people of Egypt stood united and fought tooth and nail in ending six decades of military dictatorship so that they could taste real freedom and democracy. Let us not be complicit to this unconstitutional and immoral coup but instead be among those on the right side of history. Let us do our part to see the people of Egypt regain the glory of their great January 25 Revolution.

ANWAR IBRAHIM

31 July 2013

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Huffington Post

In what looked more like a scene from “The Dictator” than real life, Egypt’s leading general and de-facto head of state Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi addressed cheering crowds in his full military fatigue and Gamal Abdel Nassir sunglasses on Wednesday. He congratulated them for “making their will known” to the world on June 30th (when mass protests began) and July 3rd (the day Morsi was ousted), and declared that “the will of the people” delegitimizes the results of elections. He then called on “all noble Egyptians” to march on Friday in the millions to give him “the popular mandate to fight terrorism.”

The Tamarrod campaign enthusiastically endorsed his call on their official Facebook page, encouraging Egyptians to support the army in “the coming war against terrorism” and its “cleansing” of the country, widely understood as references to cracking down on The Muslim Brotherhood.

The head of Egypt’s security apparatus does not need a popular mandate to pursue those involved in criminal activity. However, a ruling junta in the Arab world’s most populous country concerned with its global image does need the theatrics of “popular will” to use force to wipe out an entire political movement and its supporters, one that by the most conservative estimates comprises no less than a quarter of the Egyptian people. Not only is the general fanning the already white hot flames of anti-Muslim Brotherhood fervor in Egypt, but he is exploiting it to gain political cover for mass repression and violence. In the current climate of ultra nationalism and deep polarization, sadly, many Egyptians are all too willing to provide it.

Far from eradicating terrorism, such an approach would only empower those who call for violence against the state.

Unless Egypt’s military junta decisively corrects its current course, and pursues a peaceful, inclusive and reconciliatory approach to putting Egypt back on a democratic path, it will be feeding rather than draining militants’ ideological fuel.

This is because Al Qaeda was conceived in the prisons of Egypt, contrary to conventional wisdom, not the caves of Afghanistan. Gamal Abdel Nassir’s torture chambers produced Al Qaeda’s intellectual foundation, whose original target was not the United States, but corrupt Arab governments the superpower was seen as propping up. Sayed Qutb, whose writings inspired many militant groups, including Al Qaeda, was radicalized and eventually executed in Nassir’s jail. Decades later, Ayman El Zawahri, Osama bin Laden’s deputy and chief strategist, turned to militancy in these same confines, and went on to advocate for violence as the only way to correct perceived injustice.

The Egyptian people proved him wrong in the spring of 2011. Eighteen days of mass protests accomplished what decades of militancy could not: ridding Egypt of a thirty-year dictator. The January 25th revolt was the single greatest blow to Al Qaedaism since its bastard birth in Nassir’s jail. Islamists worked with liberals and leftists to rid their nation of a common enemy. When Iran’s supreme leader congratulated Egypt on its “Islamic Revolution”, it was the Muslim Brotherhood that corrected him. “This was an Egyptian People’s Revolution,” the Islamists declared. Former militants formed political parties, not terrorism cells, working within the system rather than seeking to destroy it. According to years of Gallup nationally representative surveys, while the majority of Egyptians (60 percent) said that “oppressed people can improve their situation through peaceful means alone” before the revolution, this number rose to 79 percent after it successfully ousted Hosni Mubarak, and to 85 percent after the first parliamentary elections. The January 25th revolution was a victory for not only “people power” but for peaceful means of change.

The threat to extremist ideology was apparently so acute that Ayman El Zawahri went out of his way in February 2011 to put out a statement responding to the Egyptian uprising, where he denounced democracy as unIslamic. It seemed that Egypt, the birthplace of Al Qaeda, would also be the land of its celebrated death.

After the military’s mass arrests and violent crackdown on supporters of the former president in the past weeks however, it might be El Zawahri who is celebrating.

In the early morning on Monday, July 8th, several days after the fall of Morsi, the military opened fire on a pro-Morsi sit in at the Republican guard leaving 51 dead, one soldier and 50 Morsi supporters. A grainy video of the incident shows people running in a panic as soldiers blast the crowd with gunshots. Human rights groups, such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, as well as Western media outlets, including theNew York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Foreign Policy Magazine, reported the military used excessive force. Within hours, the military issued a statement saying it acted in self-defense. In response to the incident the armed forces made a number of arrests — not of officers allegedly responsible for the incident as a nod to accountability and reconciliation — but of senior Brotherhood leaders, including the Supreme guide Mohammad Badie, on charges that they incited their own massacre.

With few exceptions, Egypt’s so-called “liberals” hardly object. Many formally anti-military activists and human rights NGO leaders, who have themselves witnessed violence against protesters at the hands of Egypt’s security apparatus, now fiercely defend the military, scorning dissidents in their ranks. With eerie irony, Tamarrod spokesman has stated that, “Nassir’s Egypt will not tolerate the continuation of Morsi’s Egypt” apparently glorifying a time in the country’s history when it was anything but a democracy.

If democracy were established, Egypt could still be Al Qaeda’s ideological death bed. But if the military pursues its current path, the country also has the potential to become the site of the network’s philosophical second coming. This risk was made clear in a social media exchange I had with a prominent Egyptian blogger named Ali shortly after the Republican guard shooting.

Ali: “They’re pushing us to be extremists, if they kept arresting pres. Morsy & refuse every democratic process” 

I responded in four parts:
“1. No one can force us to extremism. We have a choice. We must choose Islamic ethics over self defeating impulse. 1/4″
“2. Nothing would please your enemies more. Perfect pretense for mass repression and political exclusion. Choose wisdom. 2/4″
“3. Turning to extremism dishonors the blood of the martyrs. 3/4″
“4. Remember God said ‘don’t let a people’s hatred of you cause you to be unjust.’ God rewards patience. 4/4″

Ali:
“He also said “And if you punish an enemy, punish proportionally to that which you were harmed”[1]”

Me:
“Yes, within what is permitted. Responding in like in this case is wrong and unwise. Results disastrous.”

Ali:
“We are dying anyway, u should advise the one who kill not the victim”

Me:
“I have. See my timeline. They wish for nothing more than a pretense for more repression. Don’t give it to them.”

I might give Egypt’s ruling generals, and their advisors in Washington and Brussels, similar advice: Ayman El Zawahri and those who agree with him wish for nothing more than a pretense for violence. Don’t give it to them.

 
Dalia Mogahed is Chairman and CEO of Mogahed Consulting. With John L Esposito she co-authored “Who Speaks For Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think”

[1] The same verse goes to say, “But if you are patient – it is better for those who are patient.” It is understood to allow and limit Muslims to “proportional retaliation” in war, as opposed to massive or punishing retaliation, while encouraging forgiveness.

27 July 2013

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PRESS STATEMENT
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

27 JULY 2013

Today’s massacre of more than 100 pro-Morsi supporters and members of the Muslim Brotherhood around the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque in Cairo marks the darkest day for Egypt since the Arab Spring.

I categorically condemn this bloodbath committed by the military and the security forces. Army chief Gen Abdel Fattah al-Sisi together with the leaders of the present illegitimate interim government of Egypt now have blood on their hands and must be held to account.

I call on all parties and nations to condemn this slaughter of innocent people and do everything in their power to put a stop to this carnage.

ANWAR IBRAHIM

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