Saturday, July 6, 2013

CAIR.CAN Evolves – Introducing the National Council of CanadianMuslims (NCCM)

- For Immediate Release - 

(Ottawa, Canada – July 6, 2013) The Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR.CAN), a prominent national Muslim civil liberties organization founded in the year 2000, today proudly unveiled its new name and logo

“As of July 6, 2013, CAIR.CAN will be known as the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) or the Conseil National des Musulmans Canadiens (CNMC). This change represents a natural evolution for the organization. Our new name better reflects the Canadian heritage and focus of the organization as well as its ongoing vision to be a leading voice that enriches Canadian society through Muslim civic engagement and the promotion of human rights,” says NCCM Board Chair Kashif Ahmed.

“In thirteen short years, CAIR.CAN has developed from a fledgling organization into one whose professionalism and accomplishments in the fields of civil liberties, media engagement, advocacy and outreach have positioned it as a leader in promoting civic engagement and mutual understanding between Canadian Muslims and their fellow citizens. We are proud to move forward from strength to strength under our new name,” says NCCM Vice-Chair Khalid Elgazzar.

“We remain the same organization that our constituents and partners have come to rely on to represent a broad and diverse spectrum of Canadian Muslims. Our vast body of work is a matter of public record of which we are very proud. Under our new name, we will both continue and widen our work as successful advocates for civil liberties and champion the role of diverse communities in upholding Canadian pluralism,” says NCCM Executive Director Ihsaan Gardee.

Today, the organization is holding concurrent launch events in Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver to announce the new name to communities and supporters.


Ihsaan Gardee, NCCM Executive Director, 613.254.9704 or 613.853.4111

Kashif A. Ahmed JD, NCCM Board Chair, 613.254.9704

Khalid Elgazzar LLB, NCCM Vice-Chair, 613.254.9704


Friday, July 5, 2013

When is a military coup not a military coup? When it happens in Egypt, apparently

Those Western leaders who are telling us Egypt is still on the path to “democracy” have to remember that Morsi was indeed elected in a real, Western-approved election, writes Robert Fisk.

Surah al-Isra (Quran chapter 17)

I am currently reading and listening to Surah al-Isra recited by Mishary Al-Afasy

Al Jazeera English: Live Stream

 See also live Egyptian blog here 

Request to participate in study about Islamophobia (McGill University)

---------- Forwarded message ----------

From: Naved Bakali <>

Salaam alaikum,

My name is Naved Bakali, I'm a secondary school teacher as well as a PhD candidate at McGill University. I'm currently undertaking a research project about experiences of Muslims in high schools in Quebec after 9/11 and Islamophobia. I want to learn whether or not media representations of Muslims (i.e. films, news media, television, etc.) affected the way Muslims feel they were perceived in high school after 9/11. 

Why is this study important?: This study is very important and useful for the Canadian Muslim community, especially in Quebec because very little research has been done that has examined the affects of media representations on Muslims' lived experiences and its relation to Islamophobia. 

What this study entails: This study will involve the interviewing of both Muslim men and women (separately) who attended high school in Quebec any time after September 11 2001, (i.e. people between the ages of 15-27). 

Who should participate?: If you feel that there are biases against Muslims in the media which result in anti-Muslim and racist attitudes and that these biases have affected you or people you know throughout their experiences in Quebec high schools I strongly encourage you to participate in this study as it will shed light on an issue which has very little academic grounding and therefore create a space in which there can be discourse on these issues. 

Participation in this study will simply require you to participate in a short one time interview (25-40 min) either in a group setting or individually (whatever your preference). You wouldn't be required to answer any question that you don't want to answer and you would in no way be identified by name or any other means in the study (i.e. the study will be completely anonymous).

If you would like to participate in this study or have any questions, please feel free to contact me at

I thank you in advance for your consideration and look forward to hearing from you.

Jazakumullahu khairan,


Egypt: Crackdown on Morsi’s supporters heralds new rights abuses

Amnesty International is warning against a crackdown on supporters of Mohamed Morsi, after documenting a new wave of arrests of Muslim Brotherhood leaders, raids on media and an incident in which a protester was killed by army live fire.

Since former President Mohamed Morsi was deposed on 3 July, Amnesty International has spoken to eyewitnesses who were fired on by the army in a street near Rabaa Aladaweya Square in Cairo’s Nasr City that evening. Live ammunition was used on the pro-Morsi protest, and at least one demonstrator was killed.

“We fear that the violence of the last few days could spiral into a new wave of human rights abuses,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa Programme, amid reports that more pro-Morsi protesters were shot today as they marched on the headquarters of the Republican Guard in Cairo. “It also resurrects fears of the army’s abysmal record on human rights.” Read more....

Egyptian Coup Shakes Turkey (discussion on political Islam)

By: Semih Idiz for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse Posted on July 5, 2013

Despite the obvious differences between the two countries, Turkey felt the political shock waves of the military coup in Egypt much more than any other country, due to its own conflict between secularists and Islamists. From the moment news of the coup broke, Turkish politicians, columnists and members of the public adopted strong positions based on where they stand in the midst of this growing divide.

No one supports the coup, of course, since this would be politically incorrect in a country whose own past military takeovers are widely condemned. But it is clear that the secularist camp is much more understanding of the reasons behind the events in Egypt than the Islamist camp.




Halal Food Festival, 20 Restaurants, Cultural Cuisine, Games, and more -- Ottawa July 6th

Sadaqa Food Bank
Food Festival 2013

Enjoy a fun filled day of food, games and inflatable structures. Don't miss it
July 6th, 10 am - 6 pm
McCarthy Park (3320 Paul Anka Dr)
For more information visit: 

Restaurants participating so far:
Afghani Kabob Express, Silk Road Kabob House, Zaki Broast & Grill, La Bocca Juice, Chahaya Malaysia, Les Grillades, Sambuza Village, House of Lamb, Taj indian cuisine, Bilal Farms, Malak Pastrey, la broiche pastries, Tandoori Fusion, Basmati, Yaseen Halal Pizza and Bakery, Nando's, and more...

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Sadaqa Food Bank
174 Cobourg Street
Suite 201
Ottawa, ON K1N 8H5
Office: 613-680-5679

CAIR.CAN's community picnic! -- Ottawa, Saturday July 6th

An Invitation to Ottawa Muslim Holistic Health Awareness Day -- Saturday July 6th

Ottawa Muslim Holistic Health Awareness (OMHHA) group is pleased to announce the first event in support to the holistic lifestyle among the Muslim community. 

During the event, we will discuss the following topics among others:

*  Fasting: A healing for the body, mind, emotion and spirit
* The Holistic Way: an Islamic Way of Life
* Food for Medicine
* Our Health, Our responsibility
* The Benefits of Fasting
* The Prophetic Medicine
* The Holistic Healing

When you attend this great event, you will…

* meet, discuss and listen to people who have already adopted the holistic way of life
* savor delicious holistic food
* learn about new foods and how you can easily incorporate them in your diet
* sign up for future workshops and seminars geared toward holistic way of living
* understand and learn how to reduce unhealthy lifestyle
* increase your energy levels
* feel great in your body
* etc...
Where: Assalam Mosque Community Hall
2335 St. Laurent Blvd Ottawa, Ontario

 When: SSaaturday, July 6, 2013

 Time: 3:00 - 7:00pm
 Fee: By donation only (for the continuation of the event)
          Healthy food and drinks will be available for purchases.

Sponsor: Life Force Energy Co. (

Ottawa: A Rally Supporting Democracy in Egypt Saturday July 6th at 2:00 pm

At least 91 women were raped during the protests in Egypt last week

At least 91 women were raped, according to activists, during the protests in Egypt last week. One woman gave birth on Tahrir square last Sunday and she names her daughter Tamarud, which means rebel.

Smartphones help Gulf lovers beat gender segregation

Smartphones and the like are becoming an integral part of dating in the Arab Gulf region, but success stories are still few.

Tunisian women

Many Tunisian women are concerned about  heir future, but some women are enjoying the larger freedom to practice their religion, and wear the headscarf, for example.

Saving Somali Women and Children

Al Jazeera’s Witness features an item on the work of two Somali sisters Asha and Amina Hagi Elmi, who founded the NGO Saving Somali Women and Children. It well worth watching.

Iranian swimmer Elham Asghari

Iranian swimmer Elham Asghari swam 20 kilometres in open sea, which is a record breaking distance for Iranian women – but according to officials, her clothing was too revealing and they refused to register her record.

How Morsi, Brotherhood Lost Egypt

By: Bassem Sabry for Al-Monitor Posted on July 4., 2013

CAIRO — I was in Tahrir when they announced Mubarak was ousted. I was in Tahrir when they announced Morsi had won. And I was also in Tahrir as they announced Morsi was ousted.

Each time was a remarkably different experience for me, only united by roaring crowds, waving flags, fireworks, hugs from strangers and a big sense of relief. This time, the cheers were even more deafening. They were not just in Tahrir, but in other squares around Cairo and the country, all packed without any real organizational power behind them. The floods of people in the streets around Cairo appeared to me bigger than before, people seemed to genuinely believe they “took back their country,” and that the military was a hero doing all the right things. But perhaps what characterized this time in Tahrir for me was my sense of worry, deeper than ever before.

I believe that Mohammed Morsi had won his election, despite the more hardcore of the anti-Morsi camp's claims of fraud and voter intimidation by the Muslim Brotherhood, and that the Brotherhood had secretly threatened violence if they lost (likely, this narrative will be intentionally magnified now to make the new order even more acceptable). I believe in democracy and I have always argued in favor of the democratic process taking its course in Egypt, and always argued against any political exclusion. I consistently called for national reconciliation and compromise as the most sustainable way forward. Having said all of that, I cannot shake my conviction that Morsi, and the Brotherhood, had it coming. It was inevitable that an explosion was coming.

Until November, many had held on to the idea that Morsi and the Brotherhood were wise enough not to overplay their hand, that they knew how complicated the situation in Egypt was and that unilateralism would only bring them down. Many believed that the Brotherhood would learn from the poignant history of Mubarak and the National Democratic Party, from which they suffered perhaps the most. Many felt Morsi would be wise enough to realize he was barely elected (51.7% of the vote) against a candidate who many viewed as representing the former regime, and with the vital aid of a strong, multi-ideological revolutionary coalition that supported him based on promises of inclusion and unity.

But the problem was that it became more and more apparent that the Brotherhood was intent not on building a democratic administration, but a new regime.

There’s no one path to homegrown jihad (Globe and Mail)

Note: I am posting this article not because I necessarily agree or disagree with the author's argument, but only to provide food for thought. We cannot deny that this problem exists within the Muslim community, especially among converts. The author makes reference to an article by Alex Wilner and Claire-Jehanne Dubouloz. The article is titled "Homegrown Terrorism and Transformative Learning: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Understanding Radicalization" and can be accessed here.


There’s no one path to homegrown jihad

The Globe and Mail

Published Friday, Jul. 05 2013

How does someone go from being a down-and-out former rock guitarist to an alleged ambitious terrorist? What inspires a former convenience store worker in her 20s to allegedly want to explode bombs that could kill and maim innocent children?

Most of us can’t fathom how John Nuttall and Amanda Korody – accused of plotting to explode pressure cookers full of rusty nails at a Canada Day celebration on the lawns of the B.C. legislature – could arrive at such a point. In announcing their arrest, police said the two were “self-radicalized” and inspired by al-Qaeda, but provided few clues as to why they would have wanted to be associated with such evil.

We know that the alleged would-be bombers began attending a mosque a few years ago and reportedly started playing religious lectures at a high volume on their television. Mr. Nuttall was apparently upset about Canada’s involvement in Afghanistan and thought our soldiers shouldn’t be on Muslim soil. According to friends, Ms. Korody was a mostly quiet devotee of her partner. 

Terrorism motivated by the actions of al-Qaeda is an emerging concern among law-enforcement officials around the world.

“With a little encouragement, individuals who are predisposed to accept al-Qaeda’s vision of international relations create small networks, near-autonomously, and self-finance and independently prepare acts of violence,”according to two academics who have extensively researched the subject.

Alex Wilner, of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, and Claire-Jehanne Dubouloz, of the University of Ottawa, wrote in the 2009 paper Homegrown Terrorism And Transformative Learning: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Understanding Radicalization that while the passageways to homegrown extremism are varied, three factors are often at the root.

First, the individuals involved often feel estranged from their broader society. Societal rejection often prompts them to gravitate to groups or philosophies that align with, or feed, their negative thinking toward others.

“As a result,” the paper says, “some radicalized individuals distance themselves politically, socially and even ideologically from the broader community, eventually rejecting the national identity shared by their fellow citizens, along with the collective’s underlining political ideology, historical narrative and related value-systems.”

Second, homegrown jihadis frequently share a sudden interest in religion, often Islam, during the period of their radicalization. The Internet has made extremist interpretations and beliefs more accessible and made it easy for terrorist organizations to spread their message. “Increasingly, radicalization is occurring well outside the mosque.”

The third element is rejection of the foreign policy of the country in which a homegrown extremist lives.

“Alienation can create feelings of anxiety and fear while foreign policy can produce anger and despair,” the paper says. “Both can lead to a process of critical reflection that involves a personal reassessment of one’s life, future ambitions, current social position, inter-personal relations and so on.”

On the surface, Mr. Nuttall and Ms. Korody seem to share some of these traits: the estrangement from broader society; a sudden and deepening religious identity; anger over foreign policy. Still, it is a long road from feeling mad and isolated to plotting to detonate bombs. Even if the two are found guilty of the alleged crimes, we may never truly understand what led to such a dramatic and baffling transformation.

What we do know is that violent extremists, and more regularly homegrown jihadi terrorists, seem to be a new fact of life. What ultimately drives them is the greatest challenge facing counterterrorism officials. There’s no one development program for wannabe bombers, no consistent profile. There can be many pathways leading to the same destructive place.

While police foiled this alleged terrorist attempt and have done a commendable job of thwarting others, they can’t be everywhere. Those closest to the people undergoing the radicalization are usually the first to notice bizarre and troubling changes in behaviour. They are best positioned to notify authorities of highly unusual or suspicious activity.

And in the times we live in, it’s our duty and obligation to do just that.

Surah An Nahl recited by Abdul Rahman Al Sudais

 I am currently reading and listening to Surah An Nahl recited by Abdul Rahman Al Sudais.

The horror of a military coup

Mohammed Adam, of the the Ottawa Citizen, writes:
I have seen military coups first hand, and they are nothing to celebrate or embrace. They are brutal and ugly. And let’s be clear on one thing: No matter how you dress them up, military coups are not about freedom or liberty.
I’ve seen headlines that say Egyptians have won their liberty as a result of the coup that toppled Mohammed Morsi. They’ve won no such thing. A military coup is the very antithesis of liberty, and the signs are already emerging. 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Edward Snowden: Planet without a visa

Edward Snowden
On the website Bill Van Auken writes, 
Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency contractor who courageously exposed secret and unconstitutional US spying programs targeting millions of people in the US and around the world, is now unable to find a single government prepared to grant him the democratic right of asylum. 
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states, “Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.” This centuries-old right has been codified in numerous international treaties. 
Snowden unquestionably deserves this right. He confronts two espionage charges carrying a possible death sentence for the sole “crime” of exposing the real crimes of systematic spying by the US government against the people of the United States and the world.
Read more......

Commentary: Islamic groups in Egypt have every right to protest and true democracy lovers should support them

An Islamic coalition, led by the Muslim Brotherhood,  has appealed to Egyptians to demonstrate across the nation in a "Friday of Rejection" against the military coup which ousted Egypt's first democratically elected president from power after only one year in office.

Calling itself The National Coalition in Support of Legitimacy, the coalition held a press conference on Thursday at a mosque in suburban Cairo and  called, "on the Egyptian people to take to the streets and mobilize peacefully" after Friday prayers "to say 'No' to military detentions, 'No' to the military coup".

With Egypt's legitimately elected president being sacked from power in what clearly amounts to a military coup and arrested, hundreds more members of the Muslim Brotherhood being detained or gone missing and the shutting down of Islamic based media, the members of the coalition have every right to protest over what has taken place. 

JohnSatcher, on his twitter account (@jstacher) writes, "The Muslim Brotherhood maybe more vulnerable now than at any time under Mubarak. Hosni never had the mandate that SCAF has now to repress them." 

And Amira Howeidy, an Egyptian journalist, noted on her twitter account (@amirahoweidy), "I spent a huge chunk of my career covering Mubarak's clampdowns on MB, their long years in prison. Shocked at specter of repeat."

I argue that those who support this military coup cannot rightfully call themselves democrats but are lovers of autocratic rule in which the will of the military -- devoid of any ballots -- takes precedence over free and fair election results. 

There have been a lot of contortions from the Egyptian military and judiciary to justify this coup, by claiming it was legitimate and in the best interests of the Egyptian nation, but a military dictatorship is as military dictatorship does and what has unfolded in Egypt right now is an unambiguous example of a military coup. Closing down TV stations, arresting journalists, making political arrests, suspending the constitution and sacking a democratically elected president from office is not an example of an open democracy. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck then it is indeed a duck. How could anyone in their right mind support such a state of affairs? 

On the website Muslim Matters, Youssef Chouhoud writes
Far too many who have a vested interest in the army's actions yesterday, from nakedly biased news anchors to the army itself, are trying to package these events as the military simply responding to the will of the Egyptian people rather than engaging in the illegal removal of the country's elected executive. You have Western media darlings screaming on national news broadcasts that “This was not a coup!” while the Twitterati in Egypt try and plead their case through hashtags (#NotACoup #EgyptianRevolutionNotMilitaryCoup).
Chouhoud goes on to write, "Despite this, every major news agency – from the BBC, to Al Jazeera and CNN – seem perfectly content calling a spade a spade."

Free and fair elections are a necessary pre-condition for a true democracy, but what we are witnessing in Egypt is the clear opposite of this. 

True democracy lovers, regardless of what they think about  Morsi or the Muslim Brotherhood, should support these protesters on Friday and say with a loud and unified voice 'No' to military detentions, 'No' to the military coup."

As one anonymous person wrote on an online message board, "A bad democratically elected government is always better than a good military dictatorship."

A Coup by Any Other Name -#Egypt

Make no mistake, this coup was a blow to Egyptian democracy. That is not to say that a representative system of government is not still salvageable. I would be lying, though, if I said I was optimistic about this prospect in the short to medium term. It is clear that an already difficult path has just gotten much more perilous, writes Youssef Chouhoud.

Commentary: More arrests of Muslim Brotherhood

I find it quite rich that Egyptian prosecutors have ordered the arrest of a number of senior members of the Muslim Brotherhood a mere few hours after Morsi was overthrown in a military coup. Along with Morsi, those arrested include the Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie and his deputy Khairat El-Shater. Interestingly, Badie and El-Shater are being held in Tora Prison, located on the outskirts of Cairo, the same prison where ousted president Hosni Mubarak and his sons are detained. Morsi himself is being held at a military intelligence facility. Speaking to Al Jazeera from Cairo, Gehad El Haddad, a spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood, said that numerous members of the Muslim Brotherhood are currently missing. 

"The army has arrested the president; they put him under house arrest. They arrested the entire presidential team and issued arrest warrants with no court or trials," El Haddad said.

What are the charges against those being held? Inciting violence and disturbing general security and peace. Members of the Muslim Brotherhood are further being accused of murdering 8 protesters -- who ironically where themselves members of the Muslim Brotherhood -- outside the group's headquarters in the Cairo suburb of Moqattam on 30 June and hiring 250 of its members and snipers at its head office to kill protesters outside. Furthermore, Al Jazeera reports that a judicial source said the prosecution would on Monday begin questioning members of the group, including Morsi, for "insulting the judiciary" as the charges begin to pile upThis from a military regime which has forcibly ousted the first democratically elected Egyptian president in history. The hyped up charges will be used to further legitimize their criminal overthrow of a democratically elected head of state and spread the myth that what they have done is totally legitimate and in the best interests of the Egyptian people.  

Lest people forget, today in Egypt it is the military, not the masses, who are in power, so any sense of jubilation should be muted. And, as Johannes Stern and Alex Lantier note, "None of the essential demands that motivated the mass protests—for decent jobs, livable wages, adequate social services, and democratic rights—will be met by the military regime."

Today Egypt has a leader chosen by the military, and not by free and fair elections. Head of the Supreme Constitutional Court, Adly Mansour, is now president, and Mohamed ElBaradei, leader of the Hizb el-Dostour party, has been named prime minister. Not one vote has been cast in their favor and there are vague promises of early elections. Don't hold your breath. 

For further reading see:
Egypt army cracks down on Muslim Brotherhood

Democracy Loses in Egypt and Beyond

The framers of the U.S. Constitution feared that democracy could devolve into rule of the mob. Events in Egypt are a reminder of why that concern was justified. Essentially the same pro-democracy activists who enabled Hosni Mubarak to be removed from power in February 2011 have now done the same to his democratically elected successor, Mohamed Mursi. In both cases it was the protesters who made the government vulnerable. And in both cases it was the army that delivered the coup de grace in the form of a coup d’etat, writes Noah Feldman.

Was Morsi’s ouster a ‘coup d’état’ or not? World chooses its words carefully

See also: Coup or not?

TORONTO — The Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, Jul. 03 2013

The ouster of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi is generating significant debate about what Wednesday’s events should actually be called.
Specifically: Was it a coup d’état?
Many supporters of the ouster, including military leaders in Egypt, have denied it is a coup. Many Western diplomats have tiptoed around the issue.
While for some it might be just semantics, the word carries significance for factions inside Egypt, as well as foreign governments.
“The definition of a coup is the overturning of a leadership, a legitimate leadership, by other powers, often military,” said Paul Sullivan, an expert in international relations at Georgetown University in Washington. But he said the word “legitimate” is what can generate a significant amount of debate.
“Many people in Egypt do not consider Morsi, or the previous president now I suppose, to have been a legitimate leader. So the use of the word ‘coup’ seems inappropriate to them,” he said. “It depends where you’re looking from.”
In turn, Prof. Sullivan said, Morsi supporters are saying the actions of the military constitute a coup – likely in an effort to garner international support for themselves – as a legitimately elected government was overthrown.
Abdallah Schleifer, a journalism professor at The American University in Cairo, said the military’s insistence that it wasn’t a coup is largely due to American congressional rules that state any army that makes a coup d’état against a democratically elected president will be in jeopardy of losing U.S. aid.
But Prof. Schleifer says that there’s also a larger, more philosophical consequence at play. “Part of the opposition [to Morsi] are secular liberals and liberals should not be in favour of coup d’états and that’s kind of a liberal piety,” he said.
Western diplomats and politicians, particularly in the United States, are reluctant to call it a coup for the same reason, he said.
“Americans, the White House, we should be against coups d’états because we believe in the democratic process,” he said. “Egypt is very important to the United States, no matter who is running it. If they condemn it as a coup d’état, I couldn’t believe they would be so inept. They’ll come up with some sort of formula.”
And was it a coup? On that, Prof. Sullivan and Prof. Schleifer agree: Yes.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

300 leading Brotherhood figures arrested

Al Ahram reports that 300 leading Brotherhood figures have been arrested security official says the head of the Muslim Brotherhood political party and the Brotherhood's deputy chief have been arrested. The security official said Saad el-Katatni, the head of the Freedom and Justice Party, and Rashad Bayoumi, one of two deputies of the Brotherhood's top leader were arrested early Thursday. Read and watch here....

And on the Al Jazeera website, “Morsi’s people have been arrested already. The top people of Mubarak, they’re still out there, more than a year later,” said Ismail Abdel Aziz, a doctor. “The security forces have been sleeping for all this time. And now suddenly they wake up?”

Coup or not?

Could US aid to Egypt, to the tune of $1.5 billion annually, be in jeopardy as a result of Morsi being ejected from presidential power by the military? 

The Associated Press writes: U.S. aid is cut off when a democratically elected government is deposed by military coup or decree," U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, a key decision-maker on U.S. foreign aid, said Wednesday. He said his foreign assistance committee "will review future aid to the Egyptian government as we wait for a clearer picture."
As one respondent to the AP story wrote, "If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck..... Sounds to me like we just saves 1.5B$"

Here is US President Obama's statement on the situation in Egypt. Note, President Obama notably did not refer to the military’s takeover as a coup, although personally I don't know how what took place could seriously be called anything else.

David Kirkpatrick, in the New York Times, writes"Still, there was no mistaking the threat of force and signs of a crackdown. Armored military vehicles rolled through the streets of the capital, surrounded the presidential palace and ringed in the Islamists. The intelligence services put travel bans on Mr. Morsi and other top Brotherhood leaders. The Brotherhood’s satellite television network was removed from the air along with two other popular Islamist channels. The police arrested at least two prominent Islamist television hosts and many others who worked at those channels, as well as people who worked at a branch of the Al Jazeera network considered sympathetic to Mr. Morsi, security officials said. And state television resumed denouncing the Brotherhood as it once did under Mr. Mubarak."

Human rights groups sound alarm over Diab extradition evidence

Hassan Diab held a press conference on Parliament Hill to address the latest issues involving his extradition to France for a decades old terrorism case.

Hassan Diab held a press conference on Parliament Hill to address the latest issues involving his extradition to France for a decades old terrorism case.

By Chris Cobb, OTTAWA CITIZEN July 3, 2013

OTTAWA — Amnesty International and two of Canada’s leading civil liberties groups have intervened in the extradition case of Ottawa university professor Hassan Diab, who is wanted by France for his alleged involvement in a 1980 terrorist bombing at a Paris synagogue.

Along with Amnesty, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association have filed interventions with the Ontario Court of Appeal, which is to hear Diab’s appeal against federal Justice Minister Rob Nicholson’s decision to order the academic’s extradition. The hearing is set for November.

While neither Amnesty nor the civil liberties groups are commenting directly on the merits of the case, they say they are deeply troubled that French evidence against the academic was gleaned from torture and will be used against him at any criminal trial in Paris.

Sending an accused person to face trial under such circumstances, they say, “offends the principles of fundamental justice.”

In addition to concerns over torture, the CCLA has intervened because they say crucial evidence in the case against Diab is unreliable and would be inadmissible in any Canadian trial.

Even though they are studiously avoiding commentary on Diab’s guilt or innocence, the groups’ interventions on the most controversial aspects of the case will be a boost to Diab and his many supporters. What influence, if any, it might have on the Appeal Court’s ruling is unpredictable.

The French want the Lebanon-born Canadian citizen to stand trial for murder and attempted murder, but while most extradition cases are often rubber stamped the Diab case has evolved into one of the most complex in Canadian history, and has shone a light on what many legal critics say is a slice of Canadian law that doesn’t meet this country’s legal or constitutional standards.

Four passersby were killed, and many inside and outside the synagogue injured, when a bomb planted in the saddlebags of a motorcycle exploded on a Friday evening in October 1980.

French authorities have not charged Diab nor asked to come to Canada to interview him, but in a surprise admission last year said they are still in the throes of investigating the bombing. Typically, suspects are extradited to face trial, not police interrogation.

Diab, a former University of Ottawa and Carleton University sociology professor, says he is innocent and is the victim of mistaken identity.

Nicholson decided to surrender Diab for extradition following a ruling by Ontario Superior Court Justice Robert Maranger that Canadian federal prosecutors had presented enough evidence to support the order against the 57-year-old terrorist suspect.

The case against Diab hinges on controversial evidence from a French handwriting analyst that three internationally-recognized forensic handwriting experts that testified at his hearing unanimously condemned as deeply flawed and incompetent.

The French analyst, whose evidence would certainly be part of any criminal case against Diab, examined handwriting found in a Paris hotel’s register.

Maranger said the low legal threshold of Canadian extradition law left him no choice but to commit Diab on the basis of the handwriting evidence, but conceded that the French case would likely be too weak to convict Diab if he were to be tried in Canada.

(Federal Justice prosecutors at the extradition hearing were unable to prove that the unsourced intelligence evidence was not derived from torture so withdrew it).
“This is not extradition to stand trial,” Diab’s lawyer Donald Bayne said shortly after Nicholson announced his decision last spring. “France has admitted they have an incomplete case and in fact there may never be a trial or sufficient evidence to put him on trial. France wants this country to hand over a Canadian citizen to further an investigation. This has never been done in Canada.”

Diab was arrested on Nov 13 2008 in a raid by an RCMP SWAT team on his Gatineau apartment as he was preparing to go for a run.

He spent several months in jail before being released on strict bail conditions that amounted to house arrest.

Those conditions have been loosened slightly since then but he is still forced to wear a GPS tracking device on his ankle at a cost of $1,500 a month. Diab has been unable to work since his arrest.

Bayne said Wednesday that the interventions from Amnesty International and the two civil liberties associations focus on the “noble issues” of the Diab case.

“What they show is that reputable, responsible public organizations are concerned about issues that transcend the particular case,” he said. “It demonstrates important public issues involved in both the law of extradition and the practice of extradition that trouble — and should trouble — thoughtful members of the public who are concerned about human rights, legal rights, individual liberties and due process.”

In its written intervention, Amnesty says extraditing a person to face a trial where evidence gleaned from torture could be introduced violates Canada’s obligations under international law.

“The Minister of Justice should refuse extradition where there is a real risk that torture-derived evidence would be used at trial,” it says. “The Minister should not require proof on a balance of probabilities.”

Amnesty cites judgments from Canada’s Supreme Court, international jurisdictions, and human rights groups around the world to support its argument.

In its comments on the handwriting evidence, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association notes that there is “a substantial body of evidence” that questions its reliability and Maranger’s decision to allow it to stand has “far-reaching implications” for Canadian law.

“Bitter experience has demonstrated that unreliable evidence can take many forms and occasion much injustice,” it says. “Over the past 25 years Canada’s growing platoon of the wrongfully convicted has exposed the risk of unreliable evidence occasioning miscarriages of justice. Although the causes have been multi-faceted, evidence that initially seemed compelling but that ultimately proved unreliable has been a recurring theme.”

It is likely to be well into 2014 before the Court of Appeal decision will be released and almost certain that whoever loses will then appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Surah Al-Hijr recited by Sheikh Mishary Al Afasy

I am now reading and listening to Surah Al-Hijr recited by Sheikh Mishary Al Afasy. Introductory comments to the surah here

Morsi removed from office in military coup: My thoughts

So Egypt is now back to having a military dictatorship. In a televised broadcast, 7:00 PM local time, the head of the country’s armed forces, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, has declared that the democratically elected President Mohammed Morsi is no longer president, the constitution is suspended and the chief justice of the constitutional court, Adly Mansourwill act as interim head of state. In his statement, al-Sisi called for presidential and parliamentary elections, a panel to review the constitution and a national reconciliation committee that would include youth movements. But, as you recall, an election was held just a year ago and no new one has taken place to democratically remove Morsi from office, as normally takes places in democracies. So this amounts to a military coup regardless of how "popular" the move by the military may be, with my apologies to Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar Ahmed al-Tayeb and Pope Tawadros, the head of the Coptic Church, who both support the military's move. 
Yasser Soliman, a supporter of Morsi and quoted in a live interview with Al Jazeera International while speaking in front of Cairo University,  said the military's announcement is an implicit call for civil war. He further stated: "The army chose to appease one part of the population against the other. They [the military] are basically setting the streets on fire, calling for civil war. These people [Morsi's supporters] are willing to sacrifice their life in this situation." 
"No other president could have solved the economy's problems in one year. His opponents used violence to pressure him; why didn’t they just wait for next elections?" he continued.

And in the London Guardian, "I'm here to defend my vote and to defend a revolution I was part of," says Shaima Abdel-Hamid, a teacher at the rally. "We chose a president and now they want to get rid of him when he's dealing with 30 years of corruption. And they want to get rid of him after only a year."
I could not agree more with these sentiments. 

This is not to say I am a Morsi supporter, only that removing a democratically elected head of state from office in this fashion does not bode well for the future of the country. In my humble opinion, this is a dark day for Egyptian democracy. I would most certainly not want this process of choosing and disposing of leaders in my own country as it leads to outright anarchy and mob rule. This is going to come back and bite the Egyptian people right in the ass. As one person wrote on an online message board, "A bad democratically elected government is always better than a good military dictatorship."

And, oh yeah, look who supports Morsi's overthrow.