We who follow the Islamist movement fell off our collective chair on Nov. 15 when the news came that the United Arab Emirates' ministerial cabinet had listed the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) as one of 83 proscribed terrorist organizations, up there with the Taliban, Al-Qaeda, and ISIS.
This came as a surprise because the UAE authorities themselves have a record of promoting Islamism; because CAIR has a history of raising funds in the UAE; and because the UAE embassy in Washington had previously praised CAIR.
On reflection, however, the listing makes sense for, in recent years, the Islamist movement has gravely fractured. Sunnis fight Shi'is; advocates of violence struggle against those working within the system; modernizers do battle against those trying to return to the seventh century; and monarchists confront republicans. more >>
As United Nations statistics estimate that over 5 million children's lives have been affected in Syria as a result of the Islamic State's ongoing jihad, U.N. officials are saying that ISIS has created new and more barbaric ways to utilize children in the conflict, including using them as human shields and forcing them to donate blood to injured jihadis.
United Nations International Children's Fund regional child protection adviser, Laurent Chapuis, said in a Thursday interview with Syria Deeply that Islamic State militants are recruiting children, including those of younger ages, to join the caliphate by providing them with various paying roles within the caliphate.
Although Chapuis says that some children are used in more civil and "domestic" roles like "cooking, cleaning, bringing water or providing medical aid to the wounded," some children are thrust to the front lines and used in military roles like combatants or human shields. more >>
British jihadis now fighting for the Islamic State in Syria have tweeted a letter urging rioters in Ferguson, Missouri, to pledge their "allegiance" to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. In return, militants would be sent to "shed" their own "blood" to help fight police forces.
Trying to take advantage of the social unrest following the Ferguson grand jury decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson for shooting dead unarmed teenager Michael Brown, a British Islamic State militant tweeted a series of photos on Wednesday featuring a hand-written letter to the Ferguson protesters calling for them to convert to Islam and support ISIS.
Twenty-year-old ISIS extremist Junaid Hussain, a well-known British internet hacker now going by the nom-de-guerre Abu Hussain al-Britani after joining ISIS in Syria, posted on Twitter one photo containing a close up shot of the letter, entitled "From #IS 2 Ferguson," followed by another photo of five masked jihadis yielding assault rifles and ISIS cell phone cases while posing in support of the letter. more >>
Bollywood actress Veena Malik was sentenced to 26 years in prison by Pakistan's anti-terrorism court for appearing in a wedding scene based on the marriage of the Prophet Muhammad's daughter. Depictions of Quran figures are considered blasphemous in the Islamic country, though Malik has expressed hopes that a higher court will overturn the sentence.
"The malicious acts of the proclaimed offenders ignited the sentiments of all the Muslims of the country and hurt the feelings, which cannot be taken lightly and there is need to strictly curb such tendency," the court order read.
Malik's husband, Asad Bashir Khan, as well as Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman of Geo TV, which aired the daytime show that depicted the wedding scene, were also each sentenced to 26 years in jail. more >>
As Pope Francis visits Turkey on Friday for a weekend trip, Muslim religious figures have expressed hopes that the occasion can serve to restore Islam's image of peace and repair some of the negativity that has been associated with the religion.
Imam Ishak Kizilaslan of Istanbul's Sultan Ahmed Mosque said that he welcomes the pope's scheduled visit to the mosque, and said that he hopes Francis will see from the worshippers inside that Islam is a religion of peace.
"I will tell him ... that Islam is peace, the word means peace and submission," Kizilaslan said of what he plans to relay to Pope Francis during the pontiff's private stop on Saturday. more >>
At the height of a refugee crisis, the Arabic version of the popular Trans World Radio program Women of Hope is being aired in prime time on a popular FM station in the heart of the Middle East, TWR announced Wednesday.
Starting this month, Laki Raja, which is the Arabic name of Women of Hope, is being broadcast free of charge four times a week by a widely heard station in Lebanon. The broadcasts reach listeners in that country as well as in Syria and Palestine.
"This is a new initiative in TWR's history," reported TWR's Arabic Ministry director, whose name is withheld for security reasons. "With many Syrian and Iraqi refugees in Lebanon, this comes as an amazing opportunity to share the Gospel with the women who have lost their homes, husbands, and sometimes children, too, and who are in desperate need of hearing a message of hope!" more >>