ARABICA - A Daily Shot Of What the Arab World is Saying/Hearing/Sharing

ARABICA - A Daily Shot Of What the Arab World is Saying/Hearing/Sharing

A R A B I C A ارابيكا

By Kristen Gillespie

Al Jazeera broadcast footage of what appears to be a deceased Muammar Gaddafi, naked to the waist and lying in his own blood in the middle of a street in Sirte as the mosques issued the call to prayer in the background. "This is the end of Gadafi and the end of the Gadafi regime," the Al Jazeera presenter says, speaking over the footage. "It is the end of the war in Libya, and perhaps this will inspire the Libyan people to build a new and modern state," he said.

Dima Khatib tweets: "The tyrant is gone after 42 years, 1 month and 20 days'

Mohammed al-Ahmari says from Qatar, "We congratulate the Libyans, Arabs, Muslims and the world for the end of evil in Libya."

Jordan's King Abdullah sent a letter to the newly appointed head of the intelligence services, ordering him to "support the reform process," as "our tireless efforts to translate our vision requires a comprehensive reform effort." That includes, the king wrote, respecting the personal freedoms and human rights of citizens. The king did not outline concrete measures to this end, and the General Intelligence Department did not comment on the letter's contents.

Access to Allah is not free, according to Saudi Arabia's Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh, who issued a fatwa banning Islamic pilgrims from visiting the holy city of Mecca without a permit from the Saudi government. The sheikh also banned sleeping on the ground, stressing that Islam promotes "civilized behavior."

One of Syria's official newspapers, A-Thawra, attacked the Arab League for suggesting earlier this week that Damascus hold a national dialogue with the opposition, a gesture received by Western journalists and officials as too little, too late. But Syria's envoy to the Arab League slammed the "conspiracy" against the country, with A-Thawra piling on: "The Arab League has become a tool of injustice aiming to destabilize Syria."

While Bahrain's Shiite youth leaders deny they have an Islamist agenda in their goal to bring down the ruling Sunni Al Khalifa family, Facebook groups promoting the revolution have a decidedly Islamist slant to them. Here is an invitation to an "informational session" by the Youth Movement to learn more about Islam.

October 17, 2011

photo credit: illustir

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Dutch Cities Have Been Secretly Probing Mosques Since 2013

Revelations of a nationally funded clandestine operation within 10 municipalities in the Netherlands to keep tabs on mosques and Muslim organizations after a rise in radicalization eight years ago.

The Nasser mosque in Veenendaal, one of the mosques reportedly surveilled

Meike Eijsberg

At least ten Dutch towns and cities have secretly used a private agency to probe mosques and other local religious organizations, Amsterdam-based daily het NRC reports in an exclusive investigation.

The clandestine operation — funded by NCTV, the National Security Services, the Netherlands' leading counter-terrorism agency — was prompted by the social unrest and uncertainty following multiple terror attacks in 2013, and a rise in Islamic radicalization.

The NCTV, which advises and financially supports municipalities in countering radicalization, put the municipalities in touch with Nuance by Training and Advice (Nuance door Trainingen en Advies, NTA), a private research agency based in Deventer, Netherlands. Among the institutions targeted by the investigations, which came at a cost of circa 500,000 euros, were the Al Mouahidin mosque in the central Dutch town of Ede, and the Nasser mosque east of the city of Utrecht, according to NRC.

Photo of people standing on prayer mats inside a Dutch mosque

Praying inside a Dutch mosque.


Broken trust in Islamic community

Unlike public officials, the private agency can enter the mosques to clandestinely research the situation. In this case, the agents observed activity, talk to visitors, administrators, and religious leaders, and investigated what they do and say on social media.

All findings then wound up in a secret report which includes personal details about what the administrators and teachers studied, who their relatives are, with whom they argued, and how often they had contact with authorities in foreign countries, like Morocco.

Leaders of the Muslim organizations that were secretly probed say they feel betrayed.

It is unclear whether the practice is legal, which is why several members of the Dutch Parliament are now demanding clarification from the outgoing Minister of Justice and Security, Ferd Grapperhaus, who is said to be involved.

"The ease with which the government violates (fundamental) rights when it comes to Islam or Muslims is shocking," Stephan van Baarle, member of the leftist party DENK, told De Volkskrant, another Dutch newspaper.

Leaders of the Muslim organizations that were secretly probed say they feel betrayed. Hassan Saidi, director of one of the mosques investigated, said that the relationship with the local municipality had been good. "This puts a huge dent in the trust I'd had in the municipality," he told the Dutch public broadcaster NOS.

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