Sunday, December 11, 2011

Friday, February 01, 2008

New beginning

So this chapter in my life is coming to an end, living and working in Kuwait. A new beginning is in front of me as I head off to another continent. My next big adventure is to learn more about humanism.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Arab Humanism

Humanism

Many medieval Muslim thinkers pursued humanistic, rational and scientific discourses in their search for knowledge, meaning and values. A wide range of Islamic writings on love poetry, history and philosophical theology show that medieval Islamic thought was open to the humanistic ideas of individualism, occasional secularism, skepticism and liberalism.

Religious freedom, though limited, helped create cross-cultural networks by attracting Muslim, Christian and Jewish intellectuals and thereby helped spawn the greatest period of philosophical creativity in the Middle Ages from the 8th to 13th centuries.[5]

Humanism

Contemporary humanism can be traced back through the Renaissance back to the Islamic Golden Age to its ancient Greek roots. Humanism can also be traced back to the time of Gautama Buddha (563-483 BCE) and Confucius (551–479 BCE) and the Warring States Period, though the term "humanism" is more widely associated with Western philosophers.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Iraqi Philosopher

Al-Kindi was born and brought up in Kufah, which was a center for Arab culture and learning in the 9th century. This was certainly the right place for al-Kindi to get the best education possible at this time. Although quite a few details of al-Kindi's life are given in various sources, these are not all consistent. We shall try to give below details which are fairly well substantiated.

Al-Kindi defined Philosophy as 'the establishment of what is true and right' and believed that the pursuit of philosophy was compatible with orthodox Islam. He said - "We ought not to be embarrassed of appreciating the truth and of obtaining it wherever it comes from, even if it comes from races distant and nations different from us. Nothing should be dearer to the seeker of truth than the truth itself, and there is no deterioration of the truth, nor belittling either of one who speaks it or conveys it."

Terrorism

Backing Kuwait's Stand against Terrorism
By Michael Knights
February 11, 2005

Five firefights between Kuwaiti government forces and terrorist cells since January 10, 2005, have brought the hitherto low-profile issue of Kuwait's role in the war on terror to the fore. The incidents highlight the increased terrorist threat in a country that, in addition to attracting the normal commercial contingent of Western expatriates, plays the vital role of hosting an estimated 37,500 servicemen and military contractors supporting operations in Iraq.

Background

Since the jihad against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, Kuwait has had no shortage of militants willing to undertake violent acts in the name of Islam. After playing a part in armed resistance to Iraqi occupation, scores of young Kuwaiti militants joined the jihads in the Balkans, Caucasus, post-September 11 Afghanistan, and now Iraq. Kuwaiti militants draw on a range of motivations. The surviving 120 or so veterans of the original Soviet-era jihad in Afghanistan are under tight surveillance, but some of their sons and grandsons have sought out their own jihad experiences. Being too young to recall Palestinian support for the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, younger Kuwaitis have responded to continuous coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on Arab satellite television with increasing anger against the United States and the West. The growing tension between traditionalist tribal society and urban modernity is a further source of radicalization.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Kuwaiti Ambivalence

Underlying Reasons for Kuwaiti Ambivalence

Kuwait's delicate balancing act with regard to Islamic fundamentalism reflects a society that remains traditionally Muslim in many ways. True, there are no mutawwa (religious police) as in Saudi Arabia, nor do the five daily prayer times make much of an observable dent in public activities. Yet, the Kuwaiti public as a whole supports Islamic traditions, and alcohol, gambling, mixed dancing, and other such Western amusements are difficult for Kuwaitis to find. And since nearly all Kuwaiti citizens are Muslim, Islam provides a unifying identity that promotes national cohesion. Accordingly, any action by the government against Islamists, however legitimate, becomes a sensitive issue.

Kuwaitis on UN Blacklist

Blacklisting Terrorism Supporters in Kuwait
By David Pollock and Michael Jacobson
January 25, 2008

On January 16, the UN Security Council's "Al-Qaeda and Taliban Sanctions Committee" designated three Kuwaiti nationals for providing support to al-Qaeda. Although the UN measure is a welcome step forward, it is unlikely to have much impact without aggressive implementation by Kuwait. Given the Kuwaiti government's mixed record in cracking down on terrorism financing, there is reason to be skeptical that it will take strong action. At the same time, the UN blacklisting already appears to have affected Kuwaiti counterterrorism efforts in a way that previous requests from the United States alone could not accomplish.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Taliban who?

The Taliban ("Students of Islamic Knowledge Movement") ruled Afghanistan from 1996 until 2001. They came to power during Afghanistan's long civil war. Although they managed to hold 90% of the country's territory, their policies—including their treatment of women and support of terrorists—ostracized them from the world community. The Taliban was ousted from power in December 2001 by the U.S. military and Afghani opposition forces in response to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the U.S.

Taliban

Regimes that recognized the Taliban - Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. A look back in history to understand how we arrived at today.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Iraq

Iraq’s Parliament just passed the Accountability and Justice Act, the official aim of which is to let former officials from the Baath Party back into the government. Do you think it’s a serious step toward political reconciliation?

Monday, January 21, 2008

Al-Qaeda on the Run

Qaeda on run in Iraq, using more suicide bombers: US experts

20 hours ago

BAGHDAD (AFP) — Al-Qaeda in Iraq is on the run, forcing its elusive Egyptian-born leader to be more selective about targets and to rely increasingly on suicide bombers, US military intelligence experts said Sunday.

Current leader Abu Ayyub al-Masri is less ruthless and more selective about his targets than was his predecessor, Jordanian Musab al-Zarqawi -- killed in June 2006 -- the experts told Western reporters in a background briefing.

The leadership of the jihadist network inside Iraq is dominated by foreigners although most rank and file fighters are Iraqis, said the experts, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

"Zarqawi was very ruthless and did a lot of massive indiscriminate killing," said one expert. "Masri is more tempered ... and has to be more selective about his targets."

The Egyptian, however, is not to be underestimated.

"He is powerful and very elusive. Very few people have contact with him."

The experts declined to speculate on how many Al-Qaeda fighters are operating in Iraq but believed the number to be less than the 10,000 that US commanders gave a year ago.

The significant growth in the past year of "Awakening" anti-Qaeda fronts -- termed concerned local citizens (CLCs) by the US military -- combined with increased capabilities of the Iraqi and US militaries was impacting on Al-Qaeda's ability to plan operations, according to the intelligence chiefs.

"It's tough to plan an operation when you're on the run," said one. "They have less mobility, less access to caches and are resorting more and more to suicide attacks as their ability to stage car bombings is eroded."

US military spokesman Rear Admiral Gregory Smith earlier told a press conference that operations by Iraqi and US forces in 2007 had seen some 2,400 Al-Qaeda fighters killed and 8,800 captured.

"Of those, we captured or killed 52 emirs, 32 improvised explosive device (bomb) leaders, 24 cell leaders and 92 facilitators," said Smith.

"Their areas of control and influence were diminished. We have reduced their (car bomb) networks, disrupted the flow of foreign terrorists, weapons and logistical weapons, and kept constant pressure on Al-Qaeda, forcing their leadership to be on the run."
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