The Muslim Brotherhood - the region's largest fundamentalist political movement, with branches and affiliated groups in 86 countries - announced its own private funding drive.
"We will appeal to each and every Muslim to help the Palestinians in the face of this unjust and fierce campaign (against Hamas)," the Brotherhood's supreme leader, Mohammed Mahdi Akef, told AP in Cairo.
The group will ask its supporters to donate one quarter of their income to support Hamas, Brotherhood official Mohammed Hilal told the Cairo-based Al-Masry Al-Yawm newspaper.
The Muslim Brotherhood has wealthy private backers, and the group has close ties to Hamas, which originally grew out of the Egypt-based Brotherhood.
On February 16, 2006, the reformist Internet daily Rooz (www.roozonline.com) reported for the first time that extremist clerics from Qom had issued what the daily called "a new fatwa," which states that "shari'a does not forbid the use of nuclear weapons."
The following are excerpts from the Rooz report by Shahram Rafizadeh:(1)
"When the Entire World is Armed With Nuclear Weapons, it is Permissible to Use These Weapons as a Counter-[Measure]"
"The spiritual leaders of the ultra-conservatives [in Iran] have accepted the use of nuclear weapons as lawful in the eyes of shari'a. Mohsen Gharavian, a disciple of [Ayatollah] Mesbah Yazdi [who is Iranian President Ahmadinejad's spiritual mentor], has spoken for the first time of using nuclear weapons as a counter-measure. He stated that 'in terms of shari'a, it all depends on the goal.'
"The religious leadership of the Islamic Republic [of Iran], which has until now regarded the use of nuclear weapons as opposed to shari'a, and has repeated this point again and again, has so far kept silent about this. In spite of the fact that, in the last few weeks, some of the senior [leaders] of the Islamic Republic have tried to reduce the pressure [exerted by] the radical [conservatives], the radicals nevertheless seem to have complete control over the [political] arena.
"[Iranian National Security Council Secretary] Ali Larijani, who is in charge of the nuclear dossier, has spoken to reporters only once since the [IAEA] Board of Governors approved its resolution - and his silence is significant.(2) But yesterday, the IraNews news agency published recent remarks by Mohsen Gharavian regarding the nuclear issue. Gharavian is a lecturer at the religious schools of Qom, and is a disciple of [Ayatollah] Mesbah Yazdi. In his recent remarks, he said for the first time that the use of nuclear weapons may not constitute a problem according to shari'a. He further said that 'when the entire world is armed with nuclear weapons, it is permissible to use these weapons as a counter-[measure]. According to shari'a, too, only the goal is important...'
"[Gharavian] said that he sees no problem with the military use of nuclear weapons [sic]: 'One must say that when the entire world is armed with nuclear weapons, it is only natural that, as a counter-measure, it is necessary to be able to use these weapons. However, what is important is what goal they may be used for."
"The Ultra-[Conservatives] in Iran Have Launched a New Effort to Prepare the Religious Grounds for Use of These Weapons"
"This cleric, who is close to the government, also referred to the nuclear talks and to the future phases of the negotiations. He called the 'reporting' - rather than 'referring' - of the Iranian nuclear dossier [to the Security Council] playing with semantics, and said: 'The main goal of the West has been to put pressure on the Islamic Republic regime of Iran in order to generate fear. However, we will wait [to see] the future behavior of Europe and America, and then make the best decision.'
"Gharavian's statement is the first public statement by the Mesbah Yazdi group on the nuclear issue. Until now, none of the top-ranking religious [leaders] have authorized, on religious grounds, the use of nuclear weapons. But now it seems that the ultra-[conservatives] in Iran have launched a new effort to prepare the religious grounds for use of these weapons..."
European leaders have reacted to the Muslim upset over the cartoons two ways. Publically and to buy time, they seek to calm the protesters by deploring the abuse of freedom of speech. More significantly, they seek to preserve their societies by legislating Western norms, by tightening or ending immigration from Muslim countries, by enabling the expulsion of radical imans and other Muslim activists, and by raising the spectre of mass deportations.If these sorts of measures were an American idea, Europe would be abuzz with condemnation of our "racism" and "colonial oppression". While we make a place for our Muslims to thrive in society, they allow theirs to smolder in ghettoes until it's too late for anything but drastic measures.
In France, hard-line Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, who in October characterized France's urban rioters as "rabble," will require non-European immigrants to sign a new "Contract of Welcome and Integration" that spells out their obligations. Among other reforms, the French government will be free to expel immigrants after 10 years. Insular Muslim communities -- commonplace today -- are outlawed. For immigrants to stay, they will have to demonstrate respect for French norms, such as equality between men and women. "If a wife is kept hostage at home without learning French, the whole family will be asked to leave [the country]," said Mr. Sarkozy, who proposes to rank countries to determine the desirability of their immigrants.
The Danes have brought in immigration laws that are stricter still, all but ending their liberal refugee program and discouraging even temporary workers. In the wake of the cartoon riots, many in Denmark, including those in government, want to see an outright ban on Muslim immigration and to have radical leaders stripped of citizenship and deported. To preserve home-grown values, Danish Minister for Cultural Affairs Brian Mikkelsen recently called for the creation of a "canon of Danish art, music, literature and film." Last summer, he stated that, "In Denmark we have seen the appearance of a parallel society in which minorities practice their own medieval values and undemocratic views," adding that, "This is the new front in our cultural war."
In Germany, which pioneered the guest-worker program in Europe, a sea change has occurred. "Multicultural societies have only ... functioned peacefully in authoritarian states. To that extent it was a mistake for us to bring guest workers from foreign cultures into the country at the beginning of the 1960s," said former German chancellor Helmut Schmidt. Germany's new Chancellor, Angela Merkel, shares his view: "The notion of multiculturalism has fallen apart," she said prior to her election. "Anyone coming here must respect our constitution and tolerate our Western and Christian roots."
JERUSALEM, Feb. 20 -- Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, called on Muslim nations Monday to fund the Palestinian government after Hamas takes control of the cabinet, praising the radical Islamic movement for ignoring international pressure to recognize Israel, according to Iranian state television.
"The only way to succeed is to continue resistance against the occupier regime," Khamenei told Khaled Mashal, leader of Hamas's political wing, during his visit to Tehran. The Palestinians "knew that their vote for Hamas meant the fight against the Zionist occupier regime," he said.
Hamas, formally known as the Islamic Resistance Movement, won a large parliamentary majority in elections last month. But Israel and Western donors are moving to isolate the Palestinian Authority financially as Hamas, designated a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union, begins work to form the next cabinet, expected to be complete in about five weeks.
On Sunday, Israel's cabinet froze tax and customs payments that it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, drawing a rebuke Monday from the U.N. envoy here. The roughly $55 million in monthly transfers, a process established under the 1993 Oslo accords, accounts for about half of the authority's monthly payroll expenses.
"These are monies that belong to the Palestinians and should not be withheld," Alvaro de Soto, the U.N. envoy, told the Reuters news agency. "It follows that the formation of a new government and the approval of its program should be awaited and that actions prior to that would be premature."
The United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations, a group of Middle East peace interlocutors known as the quartet, had recommended last month that Israel delay freezing the funds until after Hamas forms the next cabinet. Quartet officials said they did not want to undermine Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, whose secular Fatah movement remains in charge of the caretaker government.
Israel's decision to freeze the money immediately makes it doubtful that the Palestinian Authority will be able to pay all of its 150,000 employees and trainees at the end of the month without fresh funding.