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Showing posts from January 23, 2016

Why Western attempts to moderate Islam are dangerous

An analysis of the dangers posed when Western governments and the Muslim establishment limit Muslim political activism.

Muslims gather in Paris in September 2014 to pay a tribute to Herve Goudel, a mountain guide beheaded by fighters affiliated to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant [YOAN VALAT/EPA]

Less than 2 percent of all politically motivated acts of violence committed in Europe are carried out by Muslims. Yet, the media narrative of a crisis with "radical Islam" and "radicalised Muslims" reaches new heights after each major attack in a Western country.

Meanwhile, rational analysis of what constitutes Muslim "radicalism" fails to inform public discourse, which is instead driven largely by sloppy presuppositions connecting religiosity or conservatism to a propensity for violence - despite any credible evidence linking the two.

Promoted by networks of well-funded Islamophobic hate groups, the hazy logic underlying this understanding of extremism is at…

Iran 'foreign legion' leans on Afghan Shia in Syria war

Some 20,000 Afghan Shia fighters said to be fighting alongside Iran to help save government of Syrian President Assad.

Iranian media says at least 200 Afghan Shia fighters have died in the Syrian war since 2013 [Abdalrhman Ismail/Reuters]

Iran is recruiting Afghan Shia fighters in their tens of thousands to step up the Islamic Republic's efforts in the Syrian war, offering them salaries to join the fight to save the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

As the conflict enters its fifth year, Iranian media has said that there are some 20,000 fighters in the Fatemiyon division, which is made up of both naturalised Afghans who lived in Iran and those who have travelled from Afghanistan.

"Five days ago, four Afghan Shia fighters were captured in southern rural Aleppo. In addition to Iranian fighters, there are also militia fighters from Lebanon, Iraq, Pakistan, and recently China," Anas al-Abdah, the secretary of the opposition Syrian Coalition's political committee, told…

Noam Chomsky On The War Against ISIL

In this episode of UpFront, Mehdi Hasan speaks to the renowned American academic Noam Chomsky about his public spat with the Turkish president, the war against ISIL and Russia's annexation of Crimea.

We also look at the ramifications of the Saudi Arabia-Iran feud, and debate the state of Egypt five years after the Arab Spring.

Headliner: Noam Chomsky on ISIL, Turkey and Ukraine

Noam Chomsky has been described as "arguably the most important intellectual alive". And as one of the world's most celebrated academics, he has published more than 100 books and is a leading critic on United States foreign policy.

In the first of a special two-part interview, Chomsky sits down with Mehdi Hasan to discuss the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group, Ukraine and Turkey.

Chomsky and other "so-called intellectuals" were recently criticised by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for supporting Kurdish separatists. The author and activist, who has accused the Turkish g…

U.S. Toops Invade Syria: Take Over Air Base

By Andrew Tilghman

U.S. special operations troops have reportedly taken over an airfield in northeastern Syria, potentially clearing the way to flow more American military support to friendly militias fighting the Islamic State group.

A small team of U.S. troops is setting up a base camp at Rmeilan Air Base in the Syrian Kurdish region near Syria's Iraqi and Turkish borders, according to local reports.

American helicopters operated at the base over the past couple of weeks as local workers expanded the runway, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The airfield was until recently under control of the Syrian Kurdish forces, known as the YPG, but was turned over to the U.S. to help expand American support for the Syrian Democratic Forces, which is the loose-knit coalition of American-backed militants fighting the Islamic State group.

"Under a deal with the YPG, the U.S. was given control of the airport. The purpose of this deal is to back up the SDF, by providing…