Mosul Eye – I lost all hope in any thing, I lost the feeling of…

I reviewed what I reported as news and documentation of the events in the city over the past year, not because I am an obliged Mosuli citizen who feels entrusted with his city, but more because I’m a truth seeker, pursuing it with every bit of passion for life I got in me, I realized that continuing in doing what I’m doing is utter waste, because I wasn’t fighting ISIL only, but I was fighting against an entire society with its heritage, a heritage that goes hundreds of years back.

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Mosul Eye – I lost all hope in any thing, I lost the feeling of….

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The Prophet. (Pablo Gargallo)

From Diyarbikkir to Lalish: Walking in the Footsteps of Genocide

“That evening, I found myself exhausted both physically and mentally. But there was one place I still had to visit, an old pedestrian bridge that I describe in my novel.  I thought I would spend some quiet time there, but a wedding was being celebrated on the bridge’s top. The ten- arched bridge, “On Guzlu Copry,” was built by the bishop of Diyarbakkir, Yohanna Z’oro, late in the 4th century, so his parish could cross to the other bank of the Tigris and access the Church of 40 Martyrs. I found to my surprise — and dismay — that a plaque placed on the side of the bridge when it was renovated in 2010 claimed it as the first “Islamic” bridge in Anatolia!”

…learn, learn, learn…

ArabLit & ArabLit Quarterly

Iraqi novelist Layla Qasrany traveled to Turkey to commemorate the Armenian genocide and visit sites that had appeared in her most recent novel. A side-trip into northern Iraq, where she visited a Yazidi shrine, brought depressing and hopeful news of ISIS:

By Layla Qasrany

Diyarbakir, Turkey

Diarbakýr, Turkey Diarbakýr, Turkey

We say in Arabic that there are five benefits to travel. No one seems to know just what these are, but I derived many benefits from a trip I took recently. The journey began with my arrival in southern Turkey to attend the commemoration of the centennial of the Armenian genocide, in which we paid tribute to the million-plus souls deported from Diyarbakkir who consequently died in the desert of Syria.  One benefit was that I got to walk in the path of the caravan I depicted in my latest Arabic novel.

The first thing I did on the 23rd of April was…

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The whole world says it: Turkey… J’accuse!

Is Turkey collaborating with the Islamic State (ISIS)? Allegations range from military cooperation and weapons transfers to logistical support, financial assistance, and the provision of medical services. It is also alleged that Turkey turned a blind eye to ISIS attacks against Kobani.President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu strongly deny complicity with ISIS. Erdogan visited the Council on Foreign Relations on September 22, 2014. He criticized “smear campaigns [and] attempts to distort perception about us.” Erdogan decried, “A systematic attack on Turkey’s international reputation, “complaining that “Turkey has been subject to very unjust and ill-intentioned news items from media organizations.” Erdogan posited: “My request from our friends in the United States is to make your assessment about Turkey by basing your information on objective sources.”Columbia University’s Program on Peace-building and Rights assigned a team of researchers in the United States, Europe, and Turkey to examine Turkish and international media, assessing the credibility of allegations. This report draws on a variety of international sources — The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, BBC, Sky News, as well as Turkish sources, CNN Turk, Hurriyet Daily News, Taraf, Cumhuriyet, and Radikal among others.

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Research Paper: ISIS-Turkey List | David L. Phillips.

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Turkey, ….and Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, ….even US and Israel have allowed this evil to grow, in certain moments.

And the worst is Arabs and Muslims themselves doing nothing …because “it’s a CIA/Israeli creation” (¡¡¿¿??!!)

… damn myopic generation of spiritually retarded degenerates.

“Everywhere you see houses and churches on fire”

The year is 2015. It has now been exactly 100 years since the genocide took place. The perpetrators and most of the victims are gone. The Turks and Kurds of today are not the ones guilty of genocide but a process of reconciliation has not occurred.

Some Kurdish leaders and organizations have recognized Kurdish clans’ involvement in the massacre but from the Turkish side there is only silence. It hurts in your heart. But not only the cruel massacres and the holocaust on the Christians; not only did you see your entire family and your relatives killed, thousands of villages being emptied of its indigenous people and your entire history annihilated, but today they say that it never happened. It hurts within you. You can still feel the smell. The process of extermination against you is continued today, 100 years later.

Far from all Turks and Kurds were responsible for the massacre. There are examples of Turkish, Kurdish and Arab families who adopted children or protected persecuted, to save them from a sure death. There are documented cases where governors refused to follow government orders of the massacres. There are also examples of Kurds who protected Christian villages against other Kurds.

The night of April 24, 1915, the first phase of the genocide began when 250 Armenian doctors, lawyers, politicians, government officials, teachers, writers, poets and other intellectuals who could become the core of a future resistance, were arrested overnight and executed within 72 hours. Therefore April 24 is counted as the start of the genocide.

The genocide that destroyed over two million Christians and that emptied the Syriac village of Kerburan, twice. The night is still your friend. For the night is when you still hear your mother’s voice, calling your beautiful name.

The year is 2015, but a part of me died in 1915.

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Reliving the Armenian genocide: “Everywhere you see houses and churches on fire” – Your Middle East.

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Armenian women crucified by Kurdish clans in Deir-El-Zor, 1915… but at least they have acknowledged their role in the hell experienced by Armenians 100 years ago. 

Yazidi means “I was created”

Who are the Ezidis?

Many Kurds know the Ezidis as refugees, IDPs, even as devil worshippers – though mostly through biased media reports. Kawa wants to learn the truth about the people’s religion and daily life. In this ZLR episode Kawa goes to a Ezidi community in Lalesh, the main Yazidi temple complex in the KR. He meets a young man called Zaid, who shows Kawa various aspects of Ezidi life; from how they eat, to prayer in their temple, to who is protecting them from IS. Zaid and his family were on Mount Sinjar and along with others subjected to much horror and deprivation.

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Who are the Ezidis? – Middle East Alliance.

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Never stop learning, people… never. 

Aleppo’s Christians’ own Friday of Pain…

Feeling the most frightened and vulnerable are the city’s sizable religious minorities, foremost of which is the Christian community whose neighborhoods have borne the brunt of the recent carnage. For many, the timing was no coincidence.

“They attacked us on one of our most holy of days, this is a clear message to us. They want to drive us out of our homes, to get rid of us entirely. This is their aim. What have we done to them? Why is there silence about this?” Umm George, a visibly anguished resident of Sulaimaniyah, told Al-Monitor. She like many others was camped outside the government-run al-Razi hospital where most of the dead and wounded were taken.

Umm George had a sister inside who was seriously wounded and fighting for her life. Her sentiment was widely shared among others there, with some wanting revenge exacted, while others just raised their hands up to the sky, defeated, and prayed for an end to the madness. The feelings of helplessness and despair were enmeshed with those of bitterness at the perceived inability of the government to protect them. “They don’t care about Aleppo; it is a forgotten city,” was one phrase you would hear often repeated to many nods of agreement.

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Aleppo’s Christians face rising violence – Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East.

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On Holy Friday, Christians mourn the death of Jesus, His martyrdom and his burial, after He was charged with “heresy” or “apostasy” for those intolerant religious men who condemned Him. Old times, new times, same symbolism. 

Men are free. That was God’s present to us. And freedom comes with a responsibility. We should think which is our responsibility in actions like these of Aleppo. Of course these Arab Christians, these Nasrani, aren’t the only victims in that hellish scenario… but they are the ones who can teach us, the Western Christians, the real value of faith. 

More than any other. 

I just hope we, mankind, can save them, and keep them in that part of the world… or they will vanish in time as the Spanish Mossarabs did. 

I, at least, will pray. 

Ok… now this could be a respected, respectful caliphate!

Muhammad never nominated a successor (caliph) nor specified a method for identifying one, hence Islam does not prescribe, nor does it need a caliphate. In addition, the caliphate often led to instability due to the absence of clear rules for the transfer of power, and contributed to the absolutists attitudes the region’s leaders traditionally have to power.

In addition, the prophet never established an “Islamic state”. In fact, his rule of Medina was incredibly secular. Moreover, Islam’s greatest successes were achieved by rulers who were largely secular, especially when compared to their times.

In fact, it could be argued that the only truly Islamic state, is a spiritual state, a state of mind.

Contrary to what Islamists tell us, secularism is the solution – but I don’t mind if you call it a “caliphate”.

In fact, if you build a caliphate like this, I can guarantee you, judging by the interest on Twitter, that you’ll be drawing immigrants from all over the Muslim world.

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Memo To ISIS: A Successful Caliphate In Six Simple Steps – BuzzFeed News.

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As usual, Mr. Diab nailed it again!

Syria… anymore? (Because of us… because of them)

But it isn’t only the international community and Assad who are to blame. The Syrians themselves have failed as well, at least their leaders and representatives. They all have pushed themselves deeper into a bloody conflict, which, thanks to goings on in Iraq and meddling on the part of Gulf states, Ankara and Tehran, has now become so very sectarian that it’s no longer imaginable that Syrians will ever again work together as a united people.

Up until four years ago, Syria was a fascinating country with a diverse culture, governed by a brutal dictatorship. But this country no longer exists. Syrians themselves have, with the help of foreign allies, destroyed it and allowed the creation of an atmosphere of hate, death and violence in which their children will have to grow up for years to come. As the rest of the world looks on.

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Opinion: Everyone has failed Syria

 DW.DE

 15.03.2015.

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As the old Spanish saying states…

“Entre todos la mataron y ella sola se murió”*. 

(*) They killed her all together and then she died all alone.

See, quite a rare bird: a Muslim Critic

It is my thesis that most of the problems of the Muslim world boil down to lack of criticism, self-criticism, which also means lack of imagination and creativity. And if we are to change things for the better, first of all we have to critically engage with the world. Even before we do that, we have to appreciate that we live in a diverse and pluralistic world, with different notions of truth. That means we have to learn to appreciate other notions of truth and look at them with respect and dignity, and realise that our claim — that we have the monopoly over sole truth — looks quite absurd to others.

At the same time, we have to look critically at ourselves, our worldview. A great deal of what we believe in is manufactured dogma. A lot of this was manufactured in history but sometimes in front of our eyes and justified with all sorts of Ahadees which have no basis in authenticity or our history. So criticism is essential. Critical Muslim is essentially about looking at Islam, Muslims and the world critically. We critique everything — the West, the Muslim societies, culture, science and technology. We believe that without thorough criticism, we cannot reach a true understanding of life and do something positive to change our societies.

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“Much of what we believe in is manufactured dogma”

 TNS – The News on Sunday.

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Daesh Caliphate: The irresistible attraction to the abyss…

Adèle, the fifteen-year-old daughter of a professional couple in Paris who joins Jabhat al-Nusra after an online conversion by her handler “Brother Mustafa.” In a farewell note to her mother she leaves behind, Adèle writes:

My own darling Mamaman (Mamaman à moi)

…Its because I love you that that I have gone.

When you read these lines I’ll be far away.

I will be in the Promised Land, the Sham, in safe hands.

Because its there that I have to die to go to Paradise.

… I have been chosen and I have been guided.

And I know what you do not know: we’re all going to die,

punished by the wrath of God.

It’s the end of the world, Mamaman.

There is too much misery, too much injustice…

And everyone will end up in hell.

Except for those who have fought with the last Imam in the Sham,

Except for us.

Adèle’s family does not know exactly how she first became drawn to Islam. But as with so many other young recruits from Europe, the Internet seems to have played a crucial part. On Adèle’s computer, they discover pictures of her in a black niqab, as well as a record of her online conversion and rapid indoctrination by Brother Mustapha, in a hidden Facebook account in which she calls herself Oum Hawwa (“Mother of Eve”).

Her conversion appears to have been influenced by the sudden death of Cathy, her much-loved aunt, from an aneurysm at the age of forty. In the Facebook dialogue, Mustapha consoles her about her loss and asks: “Have you reflected on what I explained?”

“Yes, thanks be to God, my spirit is clearer. God called aunt Cathy back to bring me closer to Him. He did this so I would see the Signs that the ignorant don’t hear.”

“This is how He tests us,” says Mustapha. “ Everything is written—there is always an underlying meaning. Allah wanted you to learn. But He must send you a trigger so you can leave the ignorance in which you have been kept up till now. Your reasoning is merely human. Allah reasons as Master of the Universe.…”

As Adèle’s engagement strengthens, Mustapha becomes more strident, moving into grooming mode:

When I tell you to call me you must call me. I want you pious and submissive to Allah and to me. I can’t wait to see your two little eyes beneath the niqab.

The story ends tragically: in Syria, the girl is briefly married to Omar, a jihadi chosen by the Emir of her group. Then one day Adèle’s parents receive a text from Adèle’s cellphone: “Oum Hawwa died today. She was not chosen by God. She didn’t die a martyr: just a stray bullet. May you hope she doesn’t go to hell.”

In the hope of retrieving her daughter, Adèle’s mother, Sophie, receives help from Samy, a practicing French Muslim. He has just come back from Syria after failing to rescue his own fourteen-year-old younger brother, Hocine, who also joined al-Nusra. Samy explains the all-embracing ideology that drives the jihadists. After being kidnapped in Northern Syria, Samy had been brought before a leader of the French division of al-Nusra. “There were young French boys everywhere. An entire town of French recruits,” Samy recalls. He is told that the Syrian jihad and the restoration of the caliphate is a prelude to the final battle at the End of Time. He is warned not to listen to the Salafists (orthodox believers) who claim that waging jihad is subject to certain limitations. “God has chosen us! We have the Truth! You’re either with us or you’re a traitor,” he is told, in a phrase that echoes George W. Bush. “Only those who fight with the Mahdi”—the Muslim messiah, who will restore the caliphate—“will enter paradise.”

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Lure of the Caliphate by Malise Ruthven

| NYRblog |

The New York Review of Books.

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