David Ignatius: Free Hossein Derakhshan!

Einer der prominentesten Kommentatoren zur Aussenpolitik, David Ignatius von der Washington Post, legt sich für Hossein Derakhshan ins Zeug: 

„When Fareed Zakaria and I created PostGlobal in June 2006, one of the first people we asked to join our panel of global commentators was an Iranian blogger named Hossein Derakhshan. He was a natural choice–smart, outspoken, unpredictable, fearless. He already had a wide following among young Iranians, inside and outside Iran, and we wanted to share his views with a wider audience.

Derakhshan has been a lively member of the PostGlobal group–sometimes defending the Iranian regime, sometimes criticizing it. Anyone who wants to see the range of his views can go to his page on PostGlobal for a sample of his posts. He returned to Tehran a few weeks ago, after living mostly in Canada since 2000, and we were looking forward to seeing what this iconoclastic voice would say about his native country.

Last weekend we learned that Derakhshan has been arrested and accused of spying for Israel. He had traveled there in 2007, openly and publicly–writing about his experiences for his own weblog, „Editor: Myself.“ We fear that his real crime in the eyes of the Iranian authorities was that he dared to visit the Jewish state and write about its people as human beings–as opposed to the demons of Iranian official propaganda. He was traveling on a Canadian passport, which unlike that of Iran doesn’t forbid contact with Israel.

This arrest will only deepen Iran’s isolation from the rest of the world. We live on a planet where people are increasingly free to travel, think, talk, and communicate via the Internet. It’s a global community in which millions of young Iranians feel part–we know that from the tens of thousands of Iranian blogs, and from the Iranian traffic we get at PostGlobal. Does the Iranian government really think that it can dam this tide of free-flowing information? Does it imagine that by arresting one of its most prominent young bloggers, it will create anything other than scorn, at home and abroad?

Hossein Derakhshan is part of the international network of thinkers and commentators that is symbolized by PostGlobal. We know that members of this network–commentators and readers alike–join us in protesting Derakhshan’s arrest and calling for his freedom.“


Noch eine dumme Fatwa: die Yoga-Fatwa

Der nationale Fatwa-Rat vom Malaysia hat Yoga für unislamisch erklärt. CNN zitiert eine Muslima, die seit 10 jahren Yoga praktiziert und voller Wut ist: „Diese Fatwa ist eine Schande für meinen Glauben.“ Auch die BBC hat einen jungen Muslim aufgespürt, der sich an die Fatwa nicht halten wird – und weiter Yogakurse und seine Moschee besuchen wird.  

In Südostasien tut sich etwas Beunruhigendes: Die religiösen Autoritäten verfallen immer mehr der Strategie, eine religiöse Reinheit durchzusetzen, und dies in traditionell religiös synkretistischen Gesellschaften. Es droht die Saudifizierung der Region, die für den Islam vielleicht noch die größten Hoffnungen birgt, mit der modernen Welt zu einem Arrangement zu kommen.

Über ähnliche Entwicklungen in Indonesien hatte ich hier bereits berichtet.


Warum Al-Kaida Angst vor Obama hat

Auf der Website von Newsweek schreibt der marokkanische Kollege Achmed Benchemsi, Herausgeber von TelQuel und Nichane, warum Ayman Al-Zawahiri so nervös ist angesichts des kommenden amerikanischen Präsidenten:

Al Qaeda and all its followers badly need to perpetuate Samuel Huntington’s „clash of civilizations“ paradigm. The West and Islam are deadly enemies, in the radicals‘ view. The more irreconcilable the former, the happier the latter. In this regard, the agenda of Bush and the neocons was a true blessing for the terrorists. Consider this: after 9/11 and the U.S. strike on Afghanistan, Al Qaeda was badly hit and its leaders were piteously hiding in caves. Later, by attacking Iraq for no valid reason–which caused, as a direct or indirect consequence, hundreds of thousands of deaths among innocent civilians–Bush’s administration provided Al Qaeda leaders with a new rationale. They reinvigorated, prospered and recruited hundreds, if not thousands, of brand-new adeptsfollowers, infused with a strong willingness for jihad. „War on terror“? If they could, they would just keep it on forever.

Al Qaeda’s true problem with Obama has indeed nothing to do with the color of his skin. By proposing to meet Iran’s Ahmadinejad without preconditions instead of just bombing him out, the American president-elect thinks outside of the confrontation box. The radicals just hate that. And above all, they hate the idea of the United States resuming the chase of Al Qaeda operatives in the mountains of the Pakistan-Afghanistan borders. He’s coming to them, how could they not react fiercely?

There is something else, which I witness everyday in the streets of Casablanca, where I live: Muslims tend to claim Obama as their own—because he’s black, because he comes from an oppressed minority, because his middle name is Hussein. I presume this holds true for all the nonradical Muslims (the vast majority of them) throughout the world. Not that they think Obama is a Muslim himself—he made clear that he was not. Yet he could have been. His father was. Anyway, this man looks like a „brother“ to many Muslims, which is indeed a good thing for the prospect of global peace.

Not surprisingly, Zawahiri’s video message targeted this specific point: „Obama is not a Muslim, he’s a renegade who abandoned his ancestor’s religion to embrace the ‚crusaders faith‘ and the ‚Zionists‘ ideology‘,“ Zawahiri suggests. The genuine message being: please don’t like him!

Well, too bad for them: we do. We will like him more, of course, if he keeps his promise of backing out of Iraq within 16 months and putting the Israeli-Palestinian peace process back on track. Meanwhile, let’s all of us, Muslims and Westerners, take advantage of the honeymoon period. And let’s enjoy the terrorists‘ embarrassment: it’s a rare occasion.

Hier ein Interview mit dem klugen und mutigen Benchemsi (frz), dessen Zeitschriften schon verboten wurden, weil er das Königshaus kritisiert hatte.

Hier sieht man Benchemsi (rechts) beim Betreten des Gerichts in Casablanca. Er mußte sich im letzten Jahr dort verantworten wegen „mangelnden Respekts vor dem Königshaus“.

Achmed Benchemsi  Foto: AFP – Abdelhek Senna