The Huffington Post – July 30, 2010
WATCH: Newt Gingrich speak about the American reaction to Bush’s “Axis of Evil” speech, (from Think Progress).
TPM – By M.J. Rosenberg
I have already written about Jeff Goldberg’s soon-to-be-published Iran war manifesto. COMMENTARY and its neocons are jumping up and down in anticipation of the war they wanted all along. And the Israeli government, and its lobby here, are hot to trot, as always. Nonetheless, it is hard to believe that Barack Obama will green light a war that George W. Bush vetoed although he has some major neocons among his top donors (not to mention Dennis Ross in the White House). Nonetheless, I don’t think Obama will attack Iran or let Israel do it. It’s too crazy. But we need to all pay attention. After all, there is no anti-Iran war lobby and the pro-war lobby is the most powerful foreign policy lobby in Washington. Here’s Tony Karon in TIME. And here’s your Friday warmongering from Krauthammer. He says it’s not true that only neocons want war. So does the ambassador from the United Arab Emirates (who has since repudiated the report Kraut refers to).
Securefreedom – July 28, 2010
The Center for Security Policy’s Senior Middle East Fellow Caroline Glick recently spoke on the subject of Iran at Moses Montefiore Anshe Emunah Synagogue in Baltimore, MD. She offered a very sober assessment of the Obama administration’s policy of appeasement toward the Mullahs– and what happens next.
Temporary Marriage (Marriage is among the traditions of the Prophet Mohammad)
In order to elevate the spiritual atmosphere, create proper psychological conditions and tranquility of mind, the Province of the Quds’eh-Razavi of Khorassan has created centers for temporary marriage (just next door to the shrine) for those brothers who are on pilgrimage to the shrine of our eighth Imam, Imam Reza, and who are far away from their spouses.
To that end, we call on all our sisters who are virgins, who are between the ages of 12 and 35 to cooperate with us. Each of our sisters who signs up will be bound by a two year contract with the province of the Quds’eh-Razavi of Khorassan and will be required to spend at least 25 days of each month temporarily married to those brothers who are on pilgrimage. The period of the contract will be considered as a part of the employment experience of the applicant. The period of each temporary marriage can be anywhere between 5 hours to 10 days. The prices are as follows:
•5 hour temporary marriage — 50,000 Tomans ($50 US)
•One day temporary marriage — 75,000 Tomans ($75 US)
•Two day temporary marriage — 100,000 Tomans ($100 US)
•Three day temporary marriage 150,000 Tomans ($150 US)
•Between 4 and 10 day temporary marriage — 300,000 Tomans ($300 US)
Our sisters who are virgins will receive a bonus of 100,000 Tomans ($100 US) for the removal of their hymen.
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The Huffington Post – Fernando Espuelas – July 28, 2010 Since Harry Truman led the world in recognizing the State of Israel, the United States has been its staunchest ally. Through decades of wars and near-death experiences, America has stood by Israel with military, diplomatic and financial support. Over the last year, however, tensions have emerged between Washington and Jerusalem. Frustrated by the lack of any meaningful progress in bringing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to a close, the United States has pressured Israel to stop any further development on Palestinian lands, a source of tremendous friction for Arabs on the streets and their governments trying to maintain fragile stability. The message from the American Government has been clear: restart face-to-face negotiations with the Palestinians. This pressure has come as a shock to the Israeli political establishment. During the George W. Bush years, American policy had tilted away from the honest-broker posture of past Republican and Democratic administrations to a noticeable pro-Israel bias. The prospects for a lasting peace moved farther and farther into the future as Palestinians felt abandoned by the historic American referee that had guaranteed them over decades of negotiations a fair deal, while the Israeli government felt no urgency to end the conflict. With a new administration in the White House, American policy in the region over the last year has focused on simultaneously pressuring for a final peace accord, while grappling with the other strategic flashpoint in the region: Iran.
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BuffaloNews.com – Charity Vogel
Nadia Shahram knew when she saw them that she had to ask questions — had to find out
They were young women, draped in flowing garb and veils, who lingered outside the shrines and public spaces of Tehran, the city of Shahram’s birth
She asked a family member who still lives in the Iranian city what the women were doing
“Temporary marriage,” she was told. The young women would take money from men who wanted to buy their time as “brides” of a short duration — perhaps an hour or two, maybe a week, maybe longer. It was sexual availability for hire — with a set time limit. And it appeared to be countenanced by the government and religious authority
Staring at them, Shahram, an attorney who works in Williamsville, knew she had to find out more about these young women’s lives
“There were some who just refused to talk to me,” Shahram said, on a recent weekday morning, inside the brightly hued office where she practices matrimonial mediation. “But some of them, they really wanted to get their stories out.”
“I couldn’t sleep for a long time, after talking to those women.”
During and following that 2004 visit to her native land, Shahram interviewed some 100 people connected to the practice of “temporary marriage” in Iran: women who sold their time and sexual favors as short-term wives; men who participated in the practice; family members of the women; and more. She took a second trip in 2005 to continue her research
The stories she heard undergird her new book, a novel called “Marriage On the Street Corners of Tehran,” which is subtitled “A Novel Based on True Stories of Temporary Marriage.” The book is available at the University at Buffalo bookstore and Talking Leaves bookstores
Though the book is fiction, Shahram said the haunting lives it reveals are real
“The cases I have used here, 99.9 percent of them are accurate, real cases,” said the attorney, who was in her late teens during the country’s revolution in the late 1970s, and who now teaches in the UB School of Law
The book treats a subject that is a real problem in Iran and certain other areas of the Muslim world, said Dr. Khalid Qazi, president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council of Western New York
“It is real, in Iran,” Qazi said. “There are some societies in Muslim countries — Iran being one of them — where ‘temporary marriages’ are practiced.”
But Qazi said the practice — which he said might also happen among immigrant Muslim populations in Western New York on occasion — is not a true practice of Islamic marriage
“‘Secret’ marriage, or ‘temporary’ marriage, is not allowed in the Muslim faith,” Qazi said. “Marriage is a union of two consenting parties that must be public and publicly celebrated.”
Shahram was born in Tehran to well-educated parents who were journalists and publishers — her name means “rare,” or “one of a kind” — and came to Toronto to begin her high school education in the mid-1970s. She chose the University at Buffalo for her college career after a visit to Buffalo
“I absolutely fell in love with Buffalo,” said Shahram, who as a girl dreamed of becoming an Iranian version of Barbara Walters. “Down the QEW — I loved it. My friends said, ‘We want to go to L.A., to Hollywood,’ but I loved Buffalo.”
She completed her undergraduate degree at UB in 1988 and earned her law degree from the school in 1997. In her solo private practice, she has handled more than 500 cases of matrimonial mediation
In 2004, Shahram decided to begin researching contemporary Islam, partly as a way of processing what had happened to the United States on 9/11
“After what our country went through on 9/11, I was … anxious and concerned to find out: What is Islam? Is it peaceful? Is it violent? If it is violent, I am changing my religion,” said Shahram, recalling her thoughts at that time
During her childhood in Iran “during the shah regime,” Shahram said, religion was a muted thing. Her parents practiced the Islamic faith, but did so privately, “behind closed doors.”
Nowadays, more than 30 years after the country’s revolution, religion seems different, Shahram said — and, she thinks a lot of that is because it has gotten mixed up with politics
That leads to many unfortunate situations, she said, among them the practice of these so-called “temporary” marriages, which are, she claimed, ignored — or even condoned — by civil governments and religious leaders in the country
“One of the most shocking things for me was that ‘temporary marriage’ was promoted and encouraged,” she said. “I saw an advertisement in the newspaper, advertising it.”
Shahram said it is her belief that this practice is a corruption of Islamic beliefs about marriage, which are supposed to be bound by contract-like arrangements. But there is never supposed to be an expiration date on the unions, she said
Women choose to enter these temporary companionship relationships for the money, and because they have no other options, Shahram said
“These are intelligent young women,” she said. “But they have no choices. There are no waitressing jobs, no jobs at McDonalds. No female jobs like that exist.”
The women do it even when such an action threatens their chances for a permanent marriage — often working very hard to keep their involvement in these brief marriages secret, if they can
“They keep it from their friends and family,” Shahram said. “They usually keep a regular profession during the day, or at night.”
Qazi, at the Muslim Public Affairs Council, said that while he has not read the novel, he thinks Shahram’s treatment of these hidden, secret marriages performs a useful service in educating people about a taboo topic in Islamic culture
“Anything that educates people is useful,” he said
Shahram said she is in the process of turning the interviews that led to her novel into a non-fiction film, a documentary which will reveal this little-seen aspect of contemporary Iranian Islam to the public gaze
Shahram said she also has started work on a second film project about the idea of “honor killings” — a term she rejects as an incorrect description of a misunderstood phenomenon — that will include interviews with Muslim women both in Iran and the United States. She would like to incorporate the local case of Aasiya Hassan of Orchard Park into that film, if possible, Shahram said
“The more we talk about it, and the more we discuss it (the better),” said Shahram. “This is like my profession as a mediator. My goal is, everybody comes to know about these practices — and how harmful it is to women.”
Hossein is an IT whiz kid, a genius who decided to use his intellect to serve his people in beating the government control on information and news censorship. During last year’s post-election fraud protests, Hossein played a pivotal role in providing anti-filters and fresh updated proxies before the expected protest days, which were then quickly spread amongst Iran’s cyber community to help the citizen journalists to show what was going on inside Iran to the world. His arrest became the intelligence ministry’s top priority. The Supreme Leader, Khamanei, was the modern day Caliph, hell bent on capturing the modern day Babak, who was shaking the very foundations of his rule, from his cyber base trenches.
When the historic Babak was captured, the Abbassid Caliph, Al-Mu’tassam, wanted to convey the most devastating message to Babak’s followers by handing out the most barbaric punishment to Babak. The Caliph ordered his henchmen, to cut off Babak’s legs and arms one by one and make him die of a slow death.
Babak bravely dabbed his face with the drained blood pouring out of his cuts, thus depriving the Caliph and the rest of the Abbasid army from seeing his face go pale as a result of the heavy loss of blood, so that they didn’t get the impression he looked scared.
Since his capture, Hossein has been subjected to the most horrific tortures, and to make matters worse, he suffers from heart and kidney ailments. His brother Hassan was also imprisoned, even though Hassan had no role in any political activity. To put eve more pressure on Hossein in order to break him down, he was forced to watch his brother being tortured for a month, which led to Hassan suffering neck injuries.
The regime is denying Hossein much needed medical treatment. On the last occasion he had a telephone conversation with his mother, he could not finish his call because of constant severe coughing.
Hossein Ronaghi-Maleki, our modern day equivalent of Babak Khorramdin, is now on hunger strike, and is resisting all the regime’s barbaric pressures to appear on state TV and make a false confession. He is dabbing his face with blood to deny the regime’s henchmen the satisfaction that they have broken him down.
While so many people undeservedly are basking in receiving awards and acclaims without ever having contributed to breaking the internet censorship in Iran, with much hype on bogus non-existent anti-filter softwares, the true hero of Iran’s cyber revolution, Hossein Ronaghi-Maleki remains forgotten and unattended but he is standing proud and resolute to the end