Morning Report: October 29, 2006

Where are they? If they're Egyptian troops, they're going to the border; if they're Egyptian Baha'is, they don't exist; if they're al-Qaeda, they might be in a submarine. But where are the modernist Muslims?

Egypt shifts troops to Gaza border. Debka: 'Egyptian-Israeli border tension rises with transfer of thousands of Egyptian interior ministry troops to Gaza’s Philadelphi Route in breach of accords with Israel. DEBKAfile’s military sources report 4,000 Interior Ministry Al Aman al Markaz troops were suddenly moved to the Egyptian-Gaza border Saturday. They have beefed up the borders guards already deployed in the North Sinai region of many of the Palestinian arms smuggling tunnels riddling the border. ... Our intelligence sources explain the sudden Egyptian build-up by two developments: Internal rivalry in the Egyptian government between defense and intelligence ministers Gen. Tantawi and Gen. Suleiman. The latter has sent the extra troops to establish a presence on the sensitive border. The other is the urgent need for an effective buffer to guard Sinai against a spillover of a Fatah-Hamas showdown which appears to be on thee verge of flaring in the Gaza Strip.' (Debka)

Egypt: No rights for Baha'i religion. Or Does It Explode:
A few months back we reported on the controversy in Egypt over whether the Baha'i religion can be listed on Egyptian identity cards. The Ministry of Interior does not want Egyptian citizens of the Baha'i faith to have this right, and are currently appealing a lower court judge's decision to grant this simple right.

Now the Egyptian government has released an Advisory Report on the status of Baha'i in Egypt and the country's commitment to religious freedom. Let's listen in on the summary of the 24-page report provided by the Baha'i Faith in Egypt blog:

In brief, it concluded that since the Baha'i Faith is not recognized in Egypt as a "divine religion," therefore its followers in that land have no rights whatsoever and that they simply do not exist! Consequently, they concluded that Egypt's Constitutional guarantees of freedom of belief and religion do not apply to the Baha'is.

Full post at the link. (ODIE)

ThreatsWatch: Submarine threat to Ras Tanura? ThreatsWatch: 'As al-Qaeda warns Canada of a Canadian 9/11 attack if the American ally does not withdraw its heavily engaged (and extremely effective) troops from Afghanistan, intelligence suggests that an increased threat to Saudi Arabian oil facilities exists. The reaction to the intelligence has been primarily to marshal allied naval assets to protect the world’s largest offshore oil export facility, the Ras Tanura terminal, as well as Bahrain’s Bapco refinery. The potential methods of an al-Qaeda attack on the offshore Ras Tanura terminal are numerous, including an explosives-laden small craft such as that used against the USS Cole or a rocket or missile attack from a small craft or even an attack from al-Qaeda operatives that may have infiltrated the Saudi Arabian military or the terminal and/or refinery staff.' (ThreatsWatch)

Commentary. Here's a brand new blog I think you should know about: Smart and Final Isis. They are "two conservative, Republican women who met in a chat room filled with fans of a big-time conservative icon." Specifically,
Smartsoimustbeabitch (aka Smartso) is the Left Brain of this operation (logical, sequential, “Detail” person). Isis is the Right Brain (Intuitive, Synthesizing, “Big Picture” person).

They're committed to improving the quality of discourse in the Rightosphere and elsewhere. Oh, and don't start in on the Muslim-bashing with them, either. Here's their most recent piece, quoting Aslam Abdullah on alt.Muslim: "Kill us too, we are also American." Welcome to the blogosphere, SFI, and keep up the good work.

Michael Totten has some thoughts on islamophobia and "islamophobia":
First of all, I want to publicly commend Dean Esmay for challenging right-wing bigotry (you heard me) against Muslims. It ought to go without saying that I am not referring to opponents, peaceful or otherwise, of Al Qaeda, Hamas, The Taliban, Hezbollah, Wahhabism, Algerian Salafism, etc., ad nauseum. I am referring here to those who demonize a billion people -- including my wonderful old West Beirut neighbors, as well as the Iraqi Kurds who love us more than anyone else in the world -- as mortal enemies.

Bigotry against Muslims in general, rather than hostility to terrorists and fanatics in particular, is a bit of an issue in the rightosphere (to borrow Ali Eteraz's terminology), and occasionally even in my own comments section. It's a problem I should probably mention more than I do.

The inverse is easily as big a problem. Bogus claims of "Islamophobia" are trotted out just as often by the bigots' evil twins.

Follow Michael's link to Johann Hari. Here's a quote from the JH post that I think gets right to the point:
Like all people who cry wolf, those who cry Islamophobia are aiding and abetting the real wolves out there. There is an authentic Islamophobia howling in the background.

Finally, let me leave you with a link to Ali Eteraz, who stands at the center of this latest blaze of dialogue. Here's Ali on the non-locality paradox:
Having tried on numerous occasions to get articles about reform in the Arab and Muslim world(s) into mainstream western press, I have discovered a trend: Too Local. “A great article, but too local,” has been the refrain of many very intelligent and fair-minded editors of my acquaintence, when I show them something about this or that sheikh or movement or progressive fatwa. Where are the modernist Muslims, the mob asks? Well, here.

Wondering where all the modernist Muslims are? Well, now you know.

And don't forget to bookmark Eteraz on your browser.