WASHINGTON, May 18 (UPI) — The rise of pro-democracy movements in the Middle East has failed to improve the image of the United States in the region, a poll has determined.
The Pew Global Attitudes Project said a survey conducted prior to the death of Osama bin Laden found that people in key Arab nations and other predominantly Muslim countries still have a negative view of America.
In Jordan, Turkey and Pakistan, views are even more negative than they were a year ago, the poll indicated.
Pew said with the exception of Indonesia, U.S. President Barack Obama remains unpopular in Muslim nations it polled.
People in most of those countries disapprove of the way he has handled calls for political change in the Middle East, Pew said.
The poll found widespread support for democracy in the Middle East, especially in Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt.
FULL ARTICLE FROM UPI
By SEBNEM ARSU
Published: August 28, 2011
ANKARA, Turkey — The Turkish government said it would return hundreds of properties that were confiscated from religious minorities by the state or other parties over the years since 1936, and would pay compensation for properties that were seized and later sold.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan made the announcement on Sunday to representatives of more than 150 Christian and Jewish trusts gathered at a dinner he hosted in Istanbul to break the day’s Ramadan fast. The government decree to return the properties, bypassing nationalist opposition in Parliament, was issued late Saturday.
The European Union, which Turkey has applied to join, has pressed the country to ease or eliminate laws and policies that discriminate against non-Muslim religious groups, including restrictions on land ownership. Many of the properties, including schools, hospitals, orphanages and cemeteries, were seized after 1936 when trusts were called to list their assets, and in 1974 a separate ruling banned the groups from purchasing any new real estate.
FULL ARTICLE FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES
The Arab revolutions are not only shaking the structure of tyranny to the core – they are shattering many of the myths about the Arab region that have been accumulating for decades. Topping the list of dominant myths are those of Arab women as caged in, silenced, and invisible. Yet these are not the types of women that have emerged out of Tunisia, Egypt, or even ultra-conservative Yemen in the last few weeks and months.
Not only did women actively participate in the protest movements raging in those countries, they have assumed leadership roles as well. They organised demonstrations and pickets, mobilised fellow citizens, and eloquently expressed their demands and aspirations for democratic change.
Like Israa Abdel Fatteh, Nawara Nejm, and Tawakul Karman, the majority of the women are in their 20s and 30s. Yet there were also inspiring cases of senior activists as well: Saida Saadouni, a woman in her 70s from Tunisia, draped the national flag around her shoulders and partook in the Qasaba protests which succeeded in toppling M. Ghannouchi’s provisional government. Having protested for two weeks, she breathed a unique revolutionary spirit into the thousands who congregated around her to hear her fiery speeches. “I resisted French occupation. I resisted the dictatorships of Bourguiba and Ben Ali. I will not rest until our revolution meets its ends, for your sakes my sons and daughters, not for mine,” said Saadouni.
Whether on the virtual battlefields of the Internet or the physical protests in the streets, women have been proving themselves as real incubators of leadership. This is part of a wider phenomenon characteristic of these revolutions: The open politics of the street have bred and matured future leaders. They are grown organically in the field, rather than being imposed upon from above by political organisations, religious groups, or gender roles.
FULL ARTICLE FROM AL JAZEERA (ENGLISH)
A U.S. jury has banned Pastor Terry Jones from staging a protest in front of the largest mosque in North America in the U. S. state of Michigan. The jury in Dearborn, home to one of the country’s largest Muslim communities, said such a protest would disturb the peace. Jones, pastor of a small evangelical church in the southern state of Florida, made international headlines last year when he threatened to burn the Quran, the Islamic holy book. Jones eventually did burn the Quran March 20 and posted video on his church’s website. The move caused widespread violence in Afghanistan, and scores of people were killed including U.N. personnel. The controversy that surrounds Terry Jones followed him into a courtroom Friday, when concerns about public safety intersected with Jones’s desire to stage the protest. The jury’s decision puts an end, for now, to Jones’s plans.
FULL ARTICLE FROM VOA NEWS
Reporting from Alexandria, Egypt—
Nageh Ibrahim once spoke of slaying infidels and creating an Islamic state that would stretch from the Nile Delta to the vast deserts ofEgypt’s south. Today he lives in a high-rise with a view of the Mediterranean Sea and has the soothing voice of a man who could lead a 12-step program on rejecting radicalism.
Ibrahim’s group, Gamaa al Islamiya, plotted notorious attacks, including the 1981 assassination of President Anwar Sadat and the massacre at an ancient Luxor temple that killed 62 people, mostly tourists, in 1997. He spent 24 years in jail reading the Koran and tempering the rage of his youth.
“We were young and we took extreme measures. But now we’re old men and our time in prison has made us wiser,” he said. “Al Qaeda and Islamic militancy have lost their glamour. Look at what has happened. The young saw that violence didn’t bring change to Egypt, a peaceful revolution did.”
FULL ARTICLE FROM THE LA TIMES