In the case of Charlie Hebdo, the facts were clear: Charlie was irreverent in its treatment of all that is allegedly holy. If some of its critics thought that its editors and cartoonists were motivated by hate and that they have singled out Islam, a close examination of Charlie’s coverage over the years unequivocally fails to bear out this claim.
Conflict in the Middle East will have consequences far beyond its borders, especially in Europe.
This is a very important article by Nicholas Blanford and can help us predict the future patterns of conflict in the region. The key quote in it for me, the one that explains how “geopolitical concerns” are understood by Iran’s leaders at this stage and, consequently, how other players are bound to understand them as swell, is this:
In February 2014, Mehdi Taeb, a senior Iranian cleric, underlined the importance of Syria to Iran in stark terms, saying it is a “strategic province for us.” “If the enemy attacks us and wants to take either Syria or [the Iranian province of] Khuzestan, the priority is to keep Syria,” he said. “If we keep Syria, we can get Khuzestan back too, but if we lose Syria, we cannot keep Tehran.”
Have Muslim organizations in the U.S. issued any guidelines to Mosques and Islamic centers on how to deal with troubled youths and extremist elements who are trying to recruit in their midst? Have they created outreach programs to Muslim families dealing with radicalized youths in an attempt to help them come back to the mainstream? Have they set up special camps that can help in these matters? Are they providing specialized training to Imams on how to deal with these and other related issues? Have they created educational guidelines on how certain issues related to Islamic teachings, such as Jihad and Dhimmitude, among others, should be breached?
The Obama Administration may have convinced itself that an Iranian military presence in the Syrian Golan Heights is no big deal and might even represent a positive development, one that might eventually force both Iran and Israel to reconsider the nature of their antagonistic relationship. A simple and rational cost-benefit analysis, or so the thinking seems to go in this regard, should in time encourage both sides to agree on some kind of détente, one that could pave the way for formal recognition, and even, cooperation in the not-so-distant future.
The answer to the extremism prevalent in Muslim communities around the world will not come from any allegedly “enlightened” or “moderate” set of religious scholars, but from the average Muslims’ changing attitude towards religiosity. Historical precedents have indeed shown that the religious establishment has often to play catchup with the people in this matter. In the meantime, however, establishment figures, motivated by a variety of ideological and parochial considerations, will often lead the fight against modernization using the pulpits and whatever social, economic and political institutions under their control.