Wednesday, October 21, 2009

In the News: Shaking it for Islam; Wannabe Jihadist Stopped

The war on terror (which no longer exists, officially (March 30, 2009)) was in the news this week: quite a bit.

Since I'm more limited than, say, The New York Times when it comes to having resources to research and write about events and issues, I have to pick my topics. Out of the welter of bombings, talks, and assertions this week, two items stood out.

Shaking It for Islam

Or, 'with friends like these, Islam doesn't need enemies.'
"Women in Somalia forced by hardliners to shake their breasts"
Zimbabwe Star (October 20, 2009)

"Somalia's hardline Muslim extremists have ordered women to shake their breasts to determine if they are wearing 'un-Islamic' bras...."

"...The Daily Mail has reported that some women have been publicly whipped for wearing hidden undergarments, with insurgents claiming that it is a 'deceptive' act to violate Islam by wearing bras...."
American psychologists in the fifties and sixties would have had a field day with an item like that. If any of them had decided to write a book about Al Shabaab's 'shake it, babe' version of Islam, they'd have probably outsold "The Naked Ape" (1967).
"Somali Islamists whip women for wearing bras"
Reuters Africa (October 16, 2009)

"Somalia's hardline Islamist group al Shabaab has publicly whipped women for wearing bras they say violate Islam by constituting a deception, north Mogadishu residents said Friday.

"The insurgent group, which seeks to impose a strict form of sharia Islamic law throughout Somalia, amputated a foot and a hand each from two young men accused of robbery earlier this month. They have also banned movies, musical ringtones, dancing at wedding ceremonies and playing or watching soccer.

"Residents said gunmen had been rounding up any woman seen with a firm bust and then had them publicly whipped by masked men. The women were then told to remove their bras and shake their breasts.

" 'Al shabaab forced us to wear their type of veil and now they order us to shake our breasts,' a resident, Halima, told Reuters, adding that her daughters had been whipped Thursday.

" 'They first banned the former veil and introduced a hard fabric which stands stiffly on women's chests. They are now saying that breasts should be firm naturally, or just flat.'..."
Islam isn't the only religion that's had its crazies. Back in 1616, Thomas Tuke, a Puritan, won lasting fame of a sort with "A Treatise against Painting and Tincturing". his strong antipathy toward women who 'deceive' men by dying their hair or using makeup has been discussed for decades. I was introduced to the story in the sixties, and I found a reference to it as recently as 1994.

I'll say this for Al Shabaab, although I certainly don't support their actions: Having their guys tell well-stacked chicks to shake it for Islam is probably great for their morale. The Al Shabaab dudes, I mean. I get the impression that the women aren't quite so happy about the situation.

Terrorists Stopped or Religious Expression Repressed: Take Your Pick

This story is getting attention in traditional American news media. I suspect the choice of targets helped.
"Feds: Boston terror suspect planned to kill officials, attack mall"
CNN (October 21, 2009)

"A Massachusetts man was charged Wednesday with one count of conspiring to provide material support to terrorists abroad, the acting U.S. attorney for Massachusetts said Wednesday.

"Tarek Mehanna, 27, of Sudbury, Massachusetts, traveled overseas, sought training from the Taliban, wanted to kill U.S. soldiers in Iraq and hoped to kill one or two members of the executive branch of the U.S. government, said Michael K. Loucks, the acting U.S. attorney for Massachusetts....

"... Mehanna and the others were unable to get automatic weapons to carry out the mall attack, Loucks said.

"The complaint affidavit alleges that Mehanna and co-conspirators sought to participate in 'violent jihad against American interests and ... would talk about fighting jihad and their desire to die on the battlefield.'..."
From the looks of it the 'battlefield' might have been a place like Mall of America, here in Minnesota. As I said, I think that targeting politicos and American shopping malls got the American press's attention. I even heard something about this on NPR.

Times being what they are, I doubt that anybody's going to try excusing Tarek Mehanna and company on the basis of religious freedom. After all, the argument could be made, all he wanted to do was follow his (sincerely held) religious beliefs.

After 9/11, that sort of open-mindedness seems to have been on the wane.

But, as I've said before, I could be wrong.

Related posts: In the news:

1 comment:

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Blogroll

Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.