Geopolitics

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

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh's hold on power may be crumbling faster than his better-known counterpart over in Libya, and the pressure is starting to show.

A R A B I C A ارابيكا

By Kristen Gillespie


YEMEN VIA TWITTER

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh's hold on power may be crumbling faster than his better-known counterpart over in Libya, and the pressure is starting to show. Tens of thousands of protesters are hitting the streets around a country where citizens possess an estimated 23 million guns. Yemen may be fractured and tribal, but more and more people seem to agree that Saleh should step down immediately. Even his own powerful tribe appears to be deserting him. On Tuesday, Saleh claimed that the unrest in Yemen and across the Arab world is being masterminded from a room in Tel Aviv that is controlled by the White House,

*The conspiracy theory was met by @samihtoukan with a hearty: "hahahahahaha."

*@Dima_Khatib added: "Ali Abdullah Saleh is the last person to accuse Washington. Is he not the one who opened Yemen's doors for the Americans to bomb it?"

*"I was not annoyed when Ali Abdullah Saleh said that what is happening in Yemen was planned in a room in Tel Aviv, but was annoyed by the people who clapped," tweeted @almuraisy – a reference to the reaction in the room to his speech.

*Saleh's statement sounds suspiciously like Muammar Gaddafi's assertion on February 14th, just days before protests blew up in Benghazi, that one man was sitting in his house in Nice, France sending out messages to orchestrate the protests.

BLOGGED

*Harvard-trained businessman and blogger Jawad Abbassi observes that most Jordanians have moved beyond what was once the country's major social divide between those of Bedouin origin and Palestinian origin. Today, it is a "polarization that only appears when the discussion turns to reform, transparency and accountability."

GOING VIRAL

*The making of a revolution: "The people want the regime to fall" – the cry heard around the Arab world comes to Lebanon. This news report shows young people setting up the first demonstration tent in the middle of Saida. A soldier tries to get the organizers to leave, but one shouts back and says "the Lebanese are hungry" and goes back to setting up the tent. "We are all responsible for this open demonstration to bring down a corrupt regime," the same young man tells the interviewer. He expressed concern that the military would come back and try to close down the demonstration, but said they intend to stay. "We are trying to bring down a sectarian regime," another young man said. They said they are tired of war and sectarianism. "We are all Lebanese," someone else added.

DATA COLLECTION

*Egypt's youth-driven April 6 movement is beginning to collect the names of everyone who was arrested in connection with the January 25th revolution. The site asks for information about each detainee, including the reason for the arrest.

A TWEET FOR THE ROAD

*"Egyptians sparked the revolution and won their rights, including the right to demonstrate and protest so as not to use these rights and put them on a shelf," one Tweeter says, reminding citizens that work remains to be done.

March 1, 2011

photo credit: illustir

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Society

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.

Hollandse-Hoogte/ZUMA

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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