In this society, many object to women showing themselves off in public, while others dislike the game they play because of its association with the US troops who invaded the country more than two years ago.
Softball, a form of baseball, was banned under ousted president Saddam Hussein, who viewed it as a product of US imperialism.
Now, a year after it first took off at Baghdad's sports academy, women have formed six teams who compete in a nationwide championship.
AN outspoken Sydney Muslim leader has been sacked and replaced by supporters of a radical cleric he criticised for claiming women incited rape.The Australian: Muslim leader rolled after attacking cleric
Keysar Trad was on Saturday night deposed as president of the Lebanese Muslim Association after a falling-out with the spiritual leader of Australia's Muslims, sparking community fury following his criticism of Faiz Mohammed.
Supporters of Mr Trad, who until yesterday also acted as spokesman for Mufti Taj Din al-Hilali, claim that 11 of the 15 new LMA directors are strong supporters of Sheik Faiz, who caused widespread anger last month when he linked the way women dressed and behaved to their risk of rape.
Mr Trad said yesterday he had been threatened in the lead-up to the LMA elections by students and supporters of the firebrand cleric.
Three imams carried the bulk of influence among the board and Mr Trad believes at least two had voted against him. "I believe that my criticism of the comments by Sheik Faiz may have influenced Imam Shady to withdraw his support and allow the committee to select a more pliant board member," he said.
"Most of the comments were received when the Faiz issue blew up in the media.
"I received calls from students of Faiz, one of whom called me directly and said I should not criticise the brother. But this (rape) comment is something he should not have made."
Sheik Faiz courted controversy last month when he gave a lecture at Bankstown Town Hall in which he said women who dressed provocatively could blame only themselves if they were raped.
"A victim of rape every minute somewhere in the world. Why? No one else to blame but herself," he said. "She displayed her beauty to the entire world. She degraded herself by being an object of desire."
Mr Trad also attributed his demise to personal acrimony between himself and Sheik Hilali over his outspoken dealings with media.
People of Arab descent living in the United States are doing far better than the average American. That is the surprising conclusion drawn from data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2000 and released last March. The census found that U.S. residents who report having Arab ancestors are better educated and wealthier than average Americans.One aspect he doesn't mention is that half of all American Arabs are Christian, which might have something to do with raising the numbers. I'm quite confident that Europe's Arabs are preponderantly muslim. And I'm also quite confident that America's Christian Arabs are doing better than its Muslim Arabs because they've been here longer, and anecdotally (with exceptions, naturally), the Muslim Arab Americans I've met have been lower to middle class, whereas the Christian Arab Americans have been more prosperous. A lot of the Christian Arabs have pretty easy names like George and John, and they look white, too, which probably helps. Still, even if the Arab Christians were far ahead of the Arab Muslims in terms of economic and social achievement in America, I'd wager money on the proposition that America's Arab Muslims are likely to be far ahead of Europe's Arab Muslims in those terms. And that's a problem Europe can't ignore for much longer.
Whereas 24 percent of Americans hold college degrees, 41 percent of Arab Americans are college graduates. The median income for an Arab family living in the United States is $52,300—4.6 percent higher than other American families—and more than half of all Arab Americans own their home. Forty-two percent of people of Arab descent in the United States work as managers or professionals, while the same is true for only 34 percent of the general U.S. population. For many, this success has come on quickly: Although about 50 percent of Arab Americans were born in the United States, nearly half of those born abroad did not arrive until the 1990s.
That immigrants do better than their compatriots back home is of course no surprise. What is far less common is for immigrants to perform that much better than the average population of their adopted home. This fact should prompt important debates that transcend how Arab immigrants are faring in the United States.
Consider, for example, the popular notion that cultural factors loom large behind the Middle East’s appalling poverty.
The Middle East’s poor economic and social performance today has also prompted explanations of some malignancy in the prevailing culture. The respected Harvard University historian David S. Landes wrote in his 1998 book, The Wealth and Poverty of Nations, that the ill that plagues these countries “lies with the culture, which (1) does not generate an informed and capable work force; (2) continues to mistrust or reject new techniques and ideas that come from the enemy West (Christendom) and (3) does not respect such knowledge as members do manage to achieve."
But if cultural impediments are behind the Arab world’s disappointing performance, what explains Arab Americans’ incredible success? The answer, of course, is opportunities and institutions. Arabs in the United States have access to ample opportunities to prosper and can rely on powerful institutions to protect their civil, political, and economic rights to do so. Indeed, the census data show that Arab ancestry mixed with markets and meritocracy creates a potent fuel for success.
Of course, many will explain the success of Arab Americans by pointing out that people who emigrate tend to be younger, more motivated, ambitious, and entrepreneurial. The Arab immigrants who are doing so well in the United States, according to this view, would have made it anywhere.
Sadly, that isn’t true, either. Otherwise, how does one explain why Arab immigrants in Europe are worse off than those in the United States? Why are leaders of Arab communities in France warning that social and racial tensions are in danger of creating a “social and political atom bomb"? Sure, France may be an extreme case, but the situation of Arabs in the rest of Europe is hardly better. In general, Muslims living in Europe—of which Arabs constitute a significant proportion—are poorer, less educated, and in worse health than the rest of the population. In the Netherlands, the unemployment rate for ethnic Moroccans is 22 percent, roughly four times the rate for the country as a whole. In Britain, the Muslim population has the highest unemployment rate of all religious groups. The failure of Arabs in Europe is particularly worrisome given that 10 of the states or entities along Europe’s eastern and southern borders are home to nearly 250 million Muslims—most of them Arabs—with a birthrate more than double that of Europeans.
This census data should prompt soul-searching in many quarters. Cultural determinists may want to revise their theories of Arab backwardness. Arab leaders should be ashamed when they see their emigrants prospering in the United States while their own people are miserable. And Europe should wake up to the possibility that it may have less of an “Arab problem" than a “European problem." Then again, maybe the cultural determinists have an explanation for why Europeans are so predisposed against Arab success.
Several Saudi terrorists, recently captured by Iraqi forces upon entering the country, stated they were inspired by the communique of twenty-six Saudi clerics (published in November 2004) sanctioning Jihad against the U.S. in Iraq. In a March 2005 TV interview on Al-Jazeera, one of the signatories, the Islamist Sheikh Salman Al-'Odeh, on whose website the communique was first posted, explained that the twenty-six religious figures had issued the communique to fill a void since the Saudi religious establishment had not issued such a call for Jihad.How principled of him. MEMRI story on the fallout of the "Let's Go Jihad" Saudi communique
Despite Al-'Odeh's claim that the communique calls upon Iraqis only to resist the occupation in Iraq, it was widely regarded as a call upon all Muslims – Iraqis and non-Iraqis alike – to support Jihad on U.S. forces in Iraq.
The communique aroused opposition in Saudi Arabia. Some senior officials in the Saudi religious establishment, as well as columnists in the Saudi media, criticized the communique and its signatories. A legal battle erupted between the Saudi daily Al- Watan and Sheikh Al-'Odeh after the former reported that 'Al-Odeh had enlisted the government's intervention to prevent his own son from going to wage Jihad in Iraq.