Thursday, April 14, 2005

And in other news: hell freezes over 

Two items today, both quite unexpected and at the same time encouraging.

In Iraq, Sheikh Hareth al-Dhari, president of the Association of Muslim Scholars, has issues what looks like
reasonably unequivocal condemnation of terrorism. Unlike in the past, in addition to condemning what the Association sees as terrorism coming from the Coalition and Iraqi security forces as well as political groups, Sheikh al-Dhari also condemned

"the terrorism of the intelligence of the numerous countries that have an interest in dividing Iraq and keeping it weak"
(while still including the obligatory reference to the Israeli Mossad) and

"the terrorism of the forces that claim resistance, and the honorable resistance renounces them."
As al-Dhari wrote, "We peacefully reject the occupation and object to terrorism in all forms, whether by an enemy of a friend, especially when this terrorism is aiming at the innocent, institutions, security and cultural establishments and the leaders of thought."

The reference to security is quite momentous, as it represents the first condemnation by the Sunni religious establishment of violence against Iraqi army and police.

Meanwhile, across the eastern border, Iran's Parliament Speaker Gholamali Haddad Adel has
slammed Iranian state TV for airing programmes insulting Jews:

"[Adel] added his voice Wednesday to a Jewish deputy's criticism of the state broadcasting for airing serials which he said were insulting the ancient diaspora in Iran.

" 'Insulting Jews and attributing untrue materials to them in TV serials over the past 12 years have not only hurt the feelings of the Jews, but they have, one can say with conviction, led to the migration of a considerable percentage of them,' Jewish MP Maurice Mo'tamed told the parliament session."
Love's not going to break out around Iran anytime soon, as the Speaker's defense only related to Iranian Jews, to be distinguished from Israeli Zionists - but it's a start. Maybe the mullahs have finally come to the conclusion that Iranian the economy would be functioning much better right now if all the Iranian Jews were working in Teheran instead of Beverly Hills.

One never knows with those sorts of reports whether the April Fool's Day comes with a slight delay through the Middle East or whether we're seeing first baby steps in the right direction, but we can only remain hopeful.


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