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The word vuvuzela is said to derive from the Zulu expression to make a noise, and, as an instrument similar in register to a cow horn is said to be related African traditional herders horns forged from the antlers of wild game. The official history of the use of the vuvuzela at local soccer matches is still unknown, but the first ones are said to have been moulded by the most ardent supporters from tin. The vuvuzela’s widespread popularity and use, however, is a recent phenomenon dating back not much further than the 1990’s. The dramatic increase in its use is related to the coincidence of the Masincendane Sport company winning a competition to mass produce improved plastic versions of the horn in the early part of the twenty first century, and the drive to promote interest in football and local football culture by the World Cup local organising committee. While the historical authenticity of the horn’s place in South African football culture may be open to question, undoubtedly, in the run up to the tournament the vuvuzela has become the defining feature of what South African football support is about.
A two-year-old Pentagon program that assigns social scientists to work with military units in Iraq and Afghanistan has come under sharp criticism from a panel of anthropologists who argue that the undertaking is dangerous, unethical and unscholarly.
Anthropologists should not be helping U.S. military forces gather information about Afghan villagers and their way of life, a study commission sponsored by their academic organization said today.
Professor Antoun was a blessing to all of us who took his courses. He was exceedingly gentle, soft spoken, and took an active interest in our research. It is to him that I owe thanks for endless brilliant little tips on doing ethnographic research, down to how to ask questions, and for sharing some of his wealth of knowledge on the Middle East and Islam. It is to him that I owe thanks for his course on Reinterpreting Tradition, so memorable that since I took it back around 1996, it feels like I was just sitting in his class, remembering individual lectures, his extensive notes occupying all the boards in his seminar room next to his office.
Article by: Markus Virgil Hoehne, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology
Note: For more detailed analysis, download the full version of this essay on the Crisis in the Horn of Africa essay forum.
Somalia has made international headlines for almost two decades now, first as a state of civil war characterized by clan warfare and humanitarian catastrophe, then as a failed state, and finally as a potential safe haven for Islamic terrorists. Contrary to the assumption about ‘black holes’ and ungoverned spaces voiced by politicians and some academics, the Harmony Project of the Center for Combating Terrorism at West Point has recently shown that the absence of a government in Somalia did not automatically provide fertile ground for Al Qaeda terrorism. Its researchers, who had access to declassified intelligence reports on Al Qaeda activities in the Horn in the early 1990s concluded that the foreign Islamist activists faced similar problems as did the UN and US humanitarian and military intervention in Somalia (1992-1995): they were partly distrusted as ‘foreigners’ who adhered to a version of Islam that was not popular in Somalia, they ran into problems with always changing clan and sub-clan alliances, they suffered from the weak infrastructure of the country, they lacked security, they were exposed to external interventions since no government could uphold Somalia’s sovereignty, and they were at risk of being ‘sold’ by petty criminals and others in Somalia to the enemy (the US).
In the wake of 9/11, the Bush Justice Department arrested almost 1,200 Muslims throughout the United States. They were ordinary American immigrants, mostly of Arab origin. The evidence at best was flimsy based on someone’s vendetta or in some cases neighbor’s paranoia.
Within a week the Justice Department unveiled the infamous “USA Patriot Act”. Congress passed it in early October 2001 over the objection of many thoughtful Americans. The word USA PATRIOT is an acronym designed to pull at American heart strings. It stands for ‘Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism’
None of the arrested were ever brought to trial; although a few were summarily deported at the slightest irregularity in their immigration documents. Many were tortured. Exactly how many were tortured and how badly is a secret under the aegis of the “Patriot act”. Perhaps some day it will come out.
Overnight Muslim organizations became suspect. FBI undercover operations were taken in stride by most Muslims as a part of the job of the FBI to protect the citizens. But what unfolded in many cases was incitement and entrapment by implanted agent Muslim provocateurs with shady pasts, in trouble with the law.
On August 5, 2004, the lead national news was that two Muslims associated with the Albany Mosque were arrested in a terrorist plot. There names were Yassin Muhiddin Aref and Mohammed Mosharref Hossain.
Negative stereotypes of Muslim characters date to at least the black-and-white era, but by the 1990s and the end of the Cold War, one-dimensional Muslim terrorist characters were the generic “bad guy” in countless movies and television shows, including True Lies (’94) and Executive Decision (’96). Even the cartoon Aladdin (’92) portrayed villains with Middle Eastern accents while the hero and heroine had standard American voices.
Such repeated portrayals have colored public perceptions of Muslims and Middle Easterners. The events of 9/11 crystallized and, for some, affirmed the stereotype. But nearly a decade later, Hollywood seems to be changing its tune toward Muslims and Arabs.
It’s about time.
Growth of radical Islam halted in the Netherlands
Salafism, an ultra-orthodox Islamic movement, is no longer growing in the Netherlands, Dutch intelligence agency AIVD reported on Thursday.
By Jaco Alberts and Steven Derix
Nordin Akhssay (31) is still different – but on the outside, he looks just like everybody else. “If people won’t accept you for who you are, you’d better be like they want you to be,” he said.
Wife of Qaeda number 2 urges women not to join jihad
(AFP) – 1 day ago
DUBAI — The wife of Al-Qaeda’s second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, has appealed to Muslim women not to join the jihad themselves but to support their menfolk in holy war, US monitoring groups said on Thursday.
Headscarf, Niqab, Burqa, etc.
Mona Eltahawy Blog » Archives » What’s Barbie Wearing Under Her Burka?
What on Earth are little girls supposed to do with Burka Barbie? More intriguingly, what is Barbie wearing under that lime green burka? I was at a loss until I came across an ad by German lingerie company Liaison Dangereuse.
Bans of the traditional face veil are angering the public in Egypt and Morocco.
Personal liberties campaigners in Egypt and Morocco are speaking out against government bans on wearing the face veil.
Iranian men wearing the Islamic headscarf, or hijab, have launched a cyber campaign to press for the release of a student activist who allegedly dressed as a woman to avoid arrest during a protest.
I’ve been trying since September to get a friend of mine, a non-Hijabi Muslim at U of T, to talk about her experiences on St. George campus. Ever since she let on that she was facing a lot of Muslim-on-Muslim discrimination, I wanted to pick her brain. Finally, she agreed – on condition of anonymity.
No French citizenship for ‘burqa’ Muslims
Muslim men who force their wives to wear the full Islamic veil should not be granted French citizenship, Justice Minister Michele Alliot-Marie said Thursday.
A Muslim medical student wearing a headscarf has been beaten up in what appeared to be a racist attack, the police chief of the German university town of Goettingen said Wednesday.
She suffered grazes and bruises when she was knocked to the ground and kicked by four assailants Saturday evening near a university library. The attackers have still not been caught. The incident became public through a later newspaper report.
Middle East and beyond
Letter from Egypt – Complaints of Bias Can Go Both Ways in Egypt – NYTimes.com
On a side street in the far northeast Cairo suburb of Ain Shams, the door of a five-story former underwear factory is padlocked.
This is, or was supposed to be, the St. Mary and Anba Abraam Coptic Christian Church. The police closed it Nov. 24, 2008, when Muslims rioted against its consecration. Since then local Copts have had to commute to distant churches or worship in hiding at one another’s homes.
While Muslim leaders criticized the Nov. 29 vote in Switzerland that banned construction of minarets, the distinctive spires on mosques that are used for the call to prayer, they don’t support Christians who want to build churches in some Islamic countries. Restrictions in Egypt have exacerbated sectarian violence and discrimination, say Copts, a 2,000-year-old denomination that comprises about 10 percent of the population.
The day after the Swiss vote, Ali Gomaa, one of Egypt’s top Muslim clerics, called the decision “an attempt to insult the feelings of the Muslim community in and outside of Switzerland.”
Copts quickly said that neither he nor any other Islamic leader mentioned the Christian situation in Egypt.
“Without the merest attempt to put our house in order, are we in any position to taunt others to put theirs?” Youssef Sidhom, editor in chief of the Cairo-based Egyptian Coptic weekly newspaper El-Watani, said by telephon. “They should be ashamed.”
The contrast between criticism of the Swiss and silence about local parallels isn’t limited to Egypt. Censure of Switzerland, where about 5 percent of the population is Muslim, was widespread in Islamic countries where Christians face restrictions on practicing their faith.
China said Tuesday that 22 Uighurs who fled to Cambodia after deadly ethnic rioting this summer were criminals and should not be granted asylum. The Uighurs, who are Muslim, were smuggled out of China with the help of a network of missionaries and Chinese Christians, the missionaries said. They arrived in Cambodia in recent weeks and have applied for asylum at the United Nations refugee agency office in Phnom Penh. “These people are involved in crimes,” Jiang Yu, a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, said at a news conference, although she provided no evidence.
Ida Lichter’s Muslim Women Reformers ambitiously highlights the work of Muslim women around the globe involving an array of interrelated issues, including lack of gender equity in education and the workplace, domestic violence, human trafficking, biased family law practices, and rape with impunity. Many of these problems stem from the socioeconomic inequality experienced globally by women of all backgrounds, and problems that transcend class and religious boundaries. In other instances, misogynist traditions have persisted because local and national authorities, in a gross affront to the majority of Muslims, pass abuses off as Islamic practices.
The book is organized by country, with the largest number of women representing Afghanistan, Iran, and Saudi Arabia, localities prominent in current U.S. political discourse. However, it is worth mentioning that the nations with the largest number of Muslims are actually Indonesia, India, and Pakistan. The reformers’ biographies are preceded by a very brief background section describing important historic events in the region. In terms of methodology, Lichter, a psychiatrist by training, does not give many specifics about her selection process or research methods.
President Barack Obama’s address to the Muslim world last June was chosen as the top religion story of 2009 in a survey of journalists who cover the beat.
Obama extended a hand to the Islamic world in a speech in Cairo while quoting from the Quran, the Gospel of Matthew and the Talmud, the collection of Jewish law.
“So long as our relationship is defined by our differences, we will empower those who sow hatred rather than peace, those who promote conflict rather than the cooperation that can help all of our people achieve justice and prosperity,” Obama said in the speech. “And this cycle of suspicion and discord must end.”
There was me navel-gazing about whether Pamela Anderson appearing in a panto sends a dodgy message to impressionable girls when along comes a headline which puts this sort of thing firmly into perspective. Mehmet Goren has been convicted of the “honour killing” – an abhorrent distortion of the English language – of his daughter Tulay, who was 15 at the time. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of thinking that the only women’s issues at stake in this country are things like maternity rights or equal pay or whether Twiggy’s had her wrinkles air-brushed out or not, when in fact in some pockets of society a girl can be tortured and killed simply for assuming ownership of her own body.
As easy as it is to blame the problems of the Muslim world on the literalist interpretations of the Wahhabis, the fact remains that the Sunni legal tradition is not entirely in disagreement with the Wahhabis on this issue. In reality, there are many sources of Islamic law that allow a father to marry his daughter away without her consent. For example, in the Maliki school it is mentioned in the Matn ar-Risla of Ibn Abi Zayd al-Kairawani that “The father may give his virgin daughter in marriage without her permission, even though she is an adult. And if he desires he may ask her.”
Two dishonourable events have recently victimised beautiful young women. One is the the case of 20-year-old Noor al Maleki, who died in a hospital in Arizona from injuries she sustained when her father ran over her with his car. She was “too westernised”, he had decided.
The other is the case of Fayez Ezzo, who was released from a Syrian prison last month after the court decided the two and a half years he already spent behind bars was enough punishment for murdering his sister in cold blood. Her name was Zahra Ezzo, and she was 16 years old when her brother stabbed her to death for “dishonouring” the family.
Most people in the Czech Republic and Slovakia would ban a possible construction of minarets, the daily Lidove noviny (LN) reports Wednesday, referring to a poll conducted by the NMS agency simultaneously in both countries.
ADEN, Dec. 13 (Saba)- Aden University and Netherlands Organization for International Cooperation (NOIC) held talks on Sunday on the Dutch support for Women Center for Research and Training at Aden university.
More and more Americans say they have no formal religious affiliation. National surveys, scholarly findings, and media coverage make that clear. Those identifying with “no religion”—often termed “nones,” “no religionists,” or the “unchurched”—jumped from 8.2 percent of the public in 1990 to just over 15 percent in 2008.
This trend causes some observers to cry out in alarm and others to rejoice. But the transition is far more complicated than a mere movement from faith to non-belief implies.
Muslim numbers soar in Latin America’s Islamic resurgence
Published Date: 07 December 2009
By Alfonso Daniels in Sao Paulo
“ALLAH Akbar” blares from the loudspeakers as hundreds of Muslims file into the mosque for prayers. Outside, halal meat stores line the street as in Damascus, Cairo or Baghdad, but this is the working-class neighbourhood of Bras in Sao Paulo, Brazil – the heart of Islam’s Latin American rebirth.
Waar voelen Marokkaanse Nederlanders zich het meeste thuis? De Groningse Femke Stock onderzoekt hun ‘thuisgevoel’. Volgens het SCP bejegent de Nederlander Marokkaanse medeburgers vriendelijker dan voorheen. Zo ervaren de allochtonen dat niet, signaleert Stock. Een gesprek.
PVV-politicus Geert Wilders moet 20 januari 2010 voor de rechtbank in Amsterdam verschijnen omdat hij opzettelijk moslims heeft beledigd en een haatprediker is, zo staat in de aanklacht. “Die dagvaarding is volkomen terecht”, stelt Oldenhuis. “De samenleving is zelfs verplicht op te treden, want in zijn teksten brengt Wilders fundamentele rechten, zoals de vrijheid van meningsuiting in het geding.”
Het klinkt voor velen paradoxaal, maar zulke rechten moeten, ook als het grondrechten zijn, wel worden begrensd, zo stelt prof. Oldenhuis. “Gebeurt dat niet, dan kan het ertoe leiden dat anderen in hun bestaan worden bedreigd. Dat is precies wat hier aan de hand is. De eigen vrijheid die Wilders wenst te hebben gunt hij niet aan een ander.”
“Een beweging impliceert een collectieve identiteit, een wij. Wij Turken, wij Brusselaars. Van ‘wij moslims’ is echter geen sprake in België. Wel zegt een minderheid, uit verdediging na 9/11: ‘Laten we onze etnische identiteit overboord gooien, naar buiten komen als Belgische moslims.’ Voorlopig is het nog een kleine groep, maar als de polarisering groot blijft, gaat ze er wel in slagen haar discours te doen aanslaan bij een groot deel Marokkanen en Turken. Alweer de verdedigingsreflex.” Meryem Kanmaz is doctor in de politieke en sociale wetenschappen.
Uitdelen korans in Afghanistan valt verkeerd
DEN HAAG – Tot woede van de PVV en de SGP in de Tweede Kamer heeft Nederland ruim tweehonderd korans aan het Afghaanse leger gegeven. Ook minister Eimert van Middelkoop (Defensie) is er niet gelukkig mee, liet hij dinsdag weten.
De Amsterdamse sociale dienst (DWI) heeft terecht een boete van 200 euro opgelegd aan een moslim bijstandsontvanger omdat hij had geweigerd om vrouwen een hand te geven en om zijn baard af te knippen, zo heeft de rechtbank donderdag bepaald.
De gemeente Den Haag heeft aangifte gedaan bij het Openbaar Ministerie van 49 gevallen van mishandelingen van kinderen in Haagse moskeeën tijdens Koranlessen.
De mishandeling kwam aan het licht tijdens het reguliere onderzoek van tienjarigen door de jeugdgezondheidszorg. Ondanks gesprekken met de verantwoordelijke moskeebesturen, die maatregelen hadden toegezegd, kreeg jeugdzorg nog steeds gevallen van mishandeling onder ogen.
Moskeeleiders frustreren onderzoek naar lijfstraffen
donderdag 17 december 2009 10:28
Moskeeën in Tilburg en Amsterdam houden werknemers van het Verwey-Jonker Instituut, die onderzoek doen naar de omstreden koranscholen, buiten de deur. In opdracht van minister Eberhard van der Laan (PvdA, Integratie) wordt kindermishandeling tijdens de lessen onderzocht, maar de moskeebesturen werken niet mee.
Het schepencollege van Beringen wil nog deze week een beslissing nemen over luidsprekers aan de Fatih-moskee.
De geloofsgemeenschap van de Fatih-moskee in het Limburgse Beringen heeft bij het stadsbestuur een aanvraag ingediend om de gelovigen te mogen oproepen tot het gebed. Ze willen daarvoor luidsprekers hangen aan de buitenkant van de moskee, zodat de muezzin – die de gelovigen oproept tot het gebed – ook in de straten hoorbaar is. . De Fatih-moskee in Beringen is een van de weinige Belgische moskeeën met een minaret.