February 08, 2006
'Aqoul quoted in Financial Times
After endlessly citing the Financial Times (especially the wise and tufty-haired columnist Martin Wolf) in our own entries, FT.com has decided to reference this little blog in its coverage of the Danish cartoon controversy:
Cartoon controversy: Middle East blogwatch
By Fiona Symon
Published: February 8 2006 12:43 | Last updated: February 8 2006 12:43
Writing on Aqoul, the Middle East discussion site, one contributor is highly critical of the role of Muslim clerics in the region - including the popular moderate Egyptian preacher Amr Khaled - whose broadcasts reach millions.
The clerics' "almost primary school religious class sermons" presented the view that “there is evidence from the Quran and the Sunna [traditions of the Prophet] to prove that the defence of the Prophet and the chastisement/punishment of infidels is incumbent upon the Muslim population."
In seeking to use the cartoon incident to forge a sense of solidarity among Muslims, they ended up presenting the affair to their followers as evidence that the west rejects the Islamic World, the author adds.
Ashraf al-Mansour, writing for Aqoul, finds it noteworthy that the nature of the protests differed so widely in the Middle East region. There were almost no demonstrations in the most populous Arab country, Egypt - home of the Muslim Brotherhood - but the violence in Palestine and Syria stood out as "extraordinary".
Al-Mansour sees this as an indication that the demonstrations were more rooted in the particular local situation rather than in an "Islamic rage". It is not that Egyptians, Turks or Iranians are inherently less violent than Palestinians and Syrians, but because the governments in those countries "simply didn't allow any violence against European institutions".
He notes that in Palestine, it was an offshoot of the secular Fatah - the al-Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade - that led the demonstrations against the cartoons, rather than the overtly Islamist groups Hamas or Islamic Jihad. This he sees as a reflection of the lack of authority of Fatah over its own followers in contrast with the discipline of Hamas.
The Lebanese government, on the other hand, “is the weakest in the region - but the ISF (Internal Security Forces) would rather shoot at demonstrators than let them damage an embassy."
I also note that Philip Stephens' article (sub only) agrees with The Lounsbury's line of thinking on Salafi-Jihadi opportunists trying to drive a wedge between East and West:
Philip Stephens: Cartoon row hijacked by extremists
By Philip Stephens
Published: February 6 2006 20:20 | Last updated: February 6 2006 20:20
In Britain and elsewhere, extremists have sought to hijack the anger of fellow Muslims to the wider ambition for a clash of civilisations. Those demanding execution of anyone deemed to insult the Prophet are not seeking mutual respect and accommodation. They are demanding that western societies bow to a version of Islam rejected by most of their co-religionists.
Well done, authors. We may now strut about like arrogant wankers.
I suppose I shall renew my FT subscription after all.
Posted by eerie at February 8, 2006 06:34 PM
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I'm afraid I strut about like an arrogant wanker most of the time so shall have to upgrade to egomaniacal wanker after this.
Posted by: Meph at February 8, 2006 07:54 PM
You'll have to start writing in a really imperious, egomaniacal tone then. Arrogantissime.
Posted by: secretdubai at February 8, 2006 08:14 PM
What, you mean like Lounsbury?
Posted by: eerie at February 8, 2006 08:17 PM
Feh. This is a direct result of Collounsbury's crack about FT being his Hadith.
Seriously, though, nicely done Eerie! Just yesterday, I was noticing the impressive list of hits Aqoul has gotten this month -- 15 from Syria! As aggressive as Syrian proxy is, I suspect some very interesting people are reading Aqoul. (Hi, Bashie!) Anyway, kudos to you. Looks like you've done something here that actually matters.
Posted by: Anonymous at February 8, 2006 09:02 PM
Interesting visitors? You should see the server logs.
And thank you for the kind words, on behalf of everyone here.
Posted by: eerie at February 8, 2006 09:30 PM
You should see the server logs.
Heh. Care to share the top ten most interesting domains Aqoul has gotten hits from?
Posted by: Anonymous at February 8, 2006 09:48 PM
eerie, raf & meph
Congratulations - very well done ! They probably have been reading Aqoul for some time prior to quoting directly. Nice !
I look forward to someday seeing a quality rant from Col hit the big time.
Posted by: mark safranski at February 8, 2006 11:15 PM
just wait until FT syndicates aqoul!
Posted by: drdougfir at February 9, 2006 03:09 AM
I shall pass over the gracing by FT, but "really imperious, egomaniacal tone then. Arrogantissime." - "What, you mean like Lounsbury?"
I've been positively modest and restrained for me.
And finally: "I look forward to someday seeing a quality rant from Col hit the big time" - I don't. Spoil me real work and do strange things to my paranioa.
Regardless, well deserved, comrades. And just was thinking of going a little post based off of my favourate fellow, Wolf.
Posted by: The Lounsbury at February 9, 2006 07:41 AM
P.S. Does this mean the rest of us have to behave? And what is the FT's opinion on grave matters such as trashy romance novels and Muslim online personals?
Posted by: Eva Luna at February 9, 2006 07:54 AM
Eva brings up a valid point!
and what of threesomes and the Syriana test?
these questions MUST BE ADDRESSED by the FT!
Posted by: drdougfir at February 9, 2006 08:50 AM