Armies of Liberation

Jane Novak's blog about Yemen

Al Iman South, new religious university opens in Aden

Filed under: Religious, al Iman — by Jane Novak at 6:21 pm on Sunday, October 21, 2012

Aden Tomorrow: Recently opened in the city of Aden branch of the University of faith .. They university founded by and run by Sheikh Abdul Majid al-Zindani, a wanted man internationally on charges of terrorism, has failed the former president and current in his recent visit to the United States to convince the president of dropping the man’s name from the black list as stated in some leaks.

“Islamist Movements in Yemen” published by the Center for Arab Unity Studies

Filed under: Civil Society, Demographics, Religious, Tribes — by Jane Novak at 10:55 am on Sunday, September 23, 2012

Book review in Al Monitor,Rise of Radical Islam in Yemen Altering Its Tribalism, Book Finds

Al Monitor: How can a country with a tribal society also see the spread of Islamic political movements? In anthropology, radicalism and tolerance are contradictory. In his book “Islamist Movements in Yemen” — published by the Center for Arab Unity Studies in Beirut — Dr. Abdul Malik Mohammed Abdullah Issa says that tribes constitute nearly 85% of the total Yemeni population and that there are 168 tribes in Yemen.

At the heart of this tribal social structure is also an Islamic religious identity. Yemeni society has historically been very religious. Although there are political differences within Yemeni society, there have not been ideological or religious differences except in a few cases — for example between Zaydi Shiite Houthis and Salafist Sunnis — and this is because most of Yemeni society belongs to the Shafi’i and Zaydi sects (there also used to be some Jews but most of them have emigrated to Israel).

Issa demonstrates that Yemeni society has historically been pragmatic. Yemenis come from one dynastic line from among the Arab Qahtani and Adnani lines. Yemeni society is highly tribal and religiously Muslim, divided between the Shafi’i and Zaydi sects. In his book, Issa explains the nature of these to sects and notes that there are very few differences between them. There are also some Ismailis, Hanafis, Abayidas, and Twelver Shiites, who came from Iraq during Saddam Hussein’s rule, and Wahhabis, who came from Saudi Arabia. (Read on …)

al Zindani interview English

Filed under: Religious, Yemen, personalities — by Jane Novak at 7:42 am on Sunday, September 23, 2012

AJE: Attacks against civilians from the West were forbidden, he said. When pressed, he distinguished between diplomats and soldiers – referring to the 50 US Marines controversially deployed to the US Embassy for protection after attacks.

Rather than openly endorsing attacks on soldiers, he preferred to mention those who should not be targeted.

“If there are civilian people and military trainers who the Yemeni government use to train [the army] for a limited time, they have protection guarantees,” he said. “But to bring forces for occupation which could expand – this is what we reject.” — (Read on …)

CCYR denounces takfirism by officials, asks Islah to clarify position

Filed under: Civil Rights, Civil Society, Islah, Religious, Transition — by Jane Novak at 2:42 pm on Thursday, February 16, 2012

Saleh frequently resorted to denouncing his opponents in religious terms and framing armed clashes as legitimate jihad with fatwas from his clerics. The CCYR supports equal rights, intellectual freedom and a civil foundation for the impending state and is highlighting the increasing use of fatwas and taqfirism by hard liners to short circuit reform, and intimidate the public at large and activists in particular.

Yemen: Civic Coalition of Youth Revolution condemns Takfirism campaign

“The Civic Coalition of Youth Revolution” CCYR has reviewed the dangers besetting the homeland and revolution with its supreme goal of the new democratic civil Yemen, for sake of which people made big sacrifices.

The CCYR noticed a most important hint in such a historical moment represented in a return to language of Takfeer /Takfirism, exclusion and cancel of others . These are the same values practiced by the former regime throughout 33 years, for which the people of Yemen took to streets.

Most importantly is that it is an influential player within one of the biggest joint meeting parties’ components that practices such behavior and while such a player did not abide by the declared political program of the Islah party, it also did the same for the first goal of revolution represented through establishing the new civil democratic country that respect freedom of thought, belief and of expression.

The CCRY, having condemned such behavior of past black era logic, confirms continue peaceful struggle against any obstacles facing the new Yemen dream of the people.

The CCYR calls Islah leadership to express their attitude towards such practices in a clear manner, for it is an influencing individuals in Islah party who did so.

The CCYR informs all forces of modernization and civilians with care about future of Yemen to practice role of raising awareness on such risks and to fight them everywhere.

The CCYR confirms solidarity with all involved in the Takfirism campaign, Bushra Almaqtary, Fikry Qassem, Salah Aldakak, Muhsen Aed, Sami Shamsan, Adel no’man being last of them.

Civil society activists condemn Yemeni scholars’ fatwa on writer as politically motivated exploitation of religion

Filed under: Civil Rights, Civil Society, Media, Religious, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 12:36 pm on Saturday, February 4, 2012

Rejecting Taqfirism flat out. And they are correct that a civil state does not reject religion but protects the rights of all religious persuasions equally.

RSF condemns the Takfeer campaign against Yemeni writers

A statement released by Revolution Salvation Front (RSF) on the apostasy campaign against the Yemeni writer, Bushra al-Maqtari

Condemnation Statement

O’ great people..O’ revolutionaries and freedom seekers in all squares of freedom and change
In deliberate abuse to the freedom of belief and approaching elimination and dominance of religion employing, the Yemeni writer Mrs. Bushra al-Maqtari, subjected to Takfeer (apostasy) campaign by known extremist groups.

Recently, these groups issued Fatwa, an Islamic edict by clerics, named as “The Olama’s Fatwa on abuse the Islam and Allah”, in which they named four writers: Bushra al-Maqtari, Fikry Kasim, Muhsin A’aid and Sami Shamsan of being “abused Islam” and described with “apostasy” and “Kufrism”.

The Fatwa elaborated by talking about an article of writer Bushra Maqtari, reported some of severed phrases from the article and interpreted it according their special orientation and political purpose for abuse and incitement to murder against the writer.

The RSF deplores and condemns this unjust Fatwa and that was not in fact Fatwa as it is just exploitation of religion for the liquidation of opponents to insert illegal ambitions, seeking to provoke sedition in society and exclusion of political opponent bigotry and bad interpretation of words away from its meanings.

It rejects the Takfeer at all. The so-called “Olama’s Fatwa on abuse the Islam and Allah” only regarded as a matter of political exploitation of religion to rein the other opinion and intellectually terrify. Such method already used by the same extremist groups against others and authorized the killing of children and women during previous political conflicts especially those infamous fatwa issued against the Yemen southerners during the civil war in 1994, misbelieved as “the war of apostasy and separation”. As well, many writers subjected to such Fatwas, as Dr. Abdul Aziz al-Maqalih and Dr. Hamood al-Awdi.

The RSF warns against going too far in using and monopoly religious and national eligibility by a group extremists and radicalists as Saleh’s regime did to weaken and exclude opposition opponents. Such behavior regarded as a crime must not be silent by the community.

It considered use of the mosques and public spaces to incite against other faiths, beliefs and ideologies as a blatant open call for incitement to murder and crime must be punished.

In this regard, the RSF calls upon the Ministry of Endowment to prevent the use of mosques to religious Takfeer, sedition and hatred in the community.

RSF also calls on political parties, human rights and civil society organizations, social and revolutionary representations, thinkers, writers and all the people to respond to such serious actions that threaten the security, stability and safety of the community.

RSF condemns the sites that published writings of abusive terms such as NabaNews and YemenPress, demanding to be prosecuted in accordance with the law.

Issued by The Peaceful Revolution Salvation Front
Date 03/02/2012

Fatwa is here and Gt’d here in article entitled: “The text of the fatwa, and the image” .. scientists Yemen opinion about insulting the divine: the article described Bushra Maqtari, and demanding closure of sites that published her article, and called for abusers to declare repentance”

Interesting to note that AQAP in Jaar banned some of the same newspapers that the scholars are also railing against.

A letter supporting activist Ms. Bushra Maqtari under threats in Taiz

Filed under: Islah, Media, Religious, Taiz, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 12:00 pm on Sunday, January 22, 2012

I add my support. Google translation below:

بيان إدانة واستنكار

في استهداف واضح ومتعمد لحرية التفكير والتعبير، واستمرار لنهج الإقصاء والاستقواء بالدين؛ تتعرض الكاتبة بشرى المقطري لحملة تكفير من قبل جماعات متطرفة تعمد إلى استحضار ثقافة إلغاء العقل، وتجريم الفكر الحر.

وأطلت القوى الظلامية المدججة بفتاوى الإلحاد وتغليب منطق التكفير على رؤى التفكير مجدداً بحملة واسعة النطاق على خلفية مقال كتبته بشرى المقطري الناشطة في أهم ساحة من ساحات الثورة، ساحة الحرية بتعز، لتستعيد موروث التكفير، وتعمل على التحريض ضد الكاتبة بهدف إرهابها، ومنعها من ممارسة حقها في التعبير عن الرأي، قبل أن تتطور تلك الحملة حتى وصلت حدّ التحريض على استهداف حياة المقطري، وقيادة مجاميع متطرفة للمطالبة بإدانتها واستهداف حياتها بحجة الإساءة إلى الدين والذات الإلهية.

إن التكفير هو الداء الرجيم الذي دفعت اليمن ثمنه باهظا من ثلاثينيات القرن الماضي، وقتل بسببه أفضل علماء اليمن ومفكريها بتهمة اختصار القرآن، وشنت بواسطته حرب ضارية على الثورة اليمنية في الشمال والجنوب بتهمة الإلحاد والكفر.

وكان التكفير هو السلاح الذي اغتيل بواسطته أهم مناضلي الثورة اليمنية أيضاً، مثلما كان أحد أهم أسلحة علي عبد الله صالح الذي نشره في طول اليمن وعرضها، حيث تشهد اليمن هذه الأيام سقوط مدن وبلدات بأيدي التنظيمات التكفيرية التي تقاوم الدولة وتقيم إماراتها الخاصة التي تمارس فيها نهجاً وحشياُ في التعامل مع البشر، فتنتهك الحقوق والحريات، وتعدم الأبرياء أو تشوه أجسادهم بزعم إقامة الحدود كما يحدث في جعار وزنجبار ورداع.

إن شن حملة التكفير على الكاتبة بشرى المقطري على إثر مقال كتبته خلال الأسبوع الماضي هو امتداد لثقافة النظام الذي قامت الثورة ضده، والصمت الجبان على هذه الحملة التكفيرية هو معادل لفعل التكفير. (Read on …)

Tensions Houthis/Dammaj students in Saada, Yemen (Updated)

Filed under: Dammaj, Religious, Sa'ada, Yemen, abu jubarah, al Jawf — by Jane Novak at 6:24 pm on Friday, November 4, 2011

Update 3: vid

Update 2: More from the Yemen Post:

One Salafi student was killed in clashes between the Shia Houthi Movement and the extreme Sunni Salafi movement in the northern Yemen Sa’ada province.

The escalations between both groups started when Houthis claimed that Salafis are entering weapons inside their educational institutions in the town of Dammaj, and demanded that all military posts are emptied.
(Read on …)

Religious Decisions For Murder

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Religious, Yemen, aq statements — by Jane Novak at 12:21 pm on Sunday, October 2, 2011

The article deals with the fatwa on protests and protesters issued by state clerics on Thursday.

Religious Decisions For Murder
a guest post by Amr Mohammed AL Rishia

The meeting was held in capital of Yemen by the so-called Yemen Clerics Association reached a religious decision for killing opponents of President Saleh .

This meeting was held after it was requested by President Saleh using religion against his opponents and demonstrations held in all around Yemen .

Saleh attempt to use the religious side to create chaos inside of revolution in Yemen , president Saleh evasions had Failed to break down legitimacy of the revolution .

That confirms the success of revolution in Yemen , particularly it has managed realign Centers of power in the Yemeni society tribal , military , parties & youth for one purpose is to remove the corrupt regime.

President Saleh no longer has any political plans in order to destroy the revolution, that why he used the religious side. Actually it reveals to international society Saleh’s intentions to lead Yemen to civil war by using religious decisions for murder.

What I saw on TV screens were a group of normal men did not reach to stage of clerics , in any way regarding about clerics qualifications. Where are they standing from the view of religion in the continuing injustice of 33 years? Where are they from stealing the country?, Where are they from killing Yemenis? Where are they from spread of corruption for 33 years?

It is shameful and ridiculous at the same time. Where are they from regarding the constitution which since the twentieth year allows citizens to demonstrate.

Finally, day after day, President Saleh exposes himself and makes others aware of President Saleh who has ruled the nation as great as the Yemeni people, It became clear to the world that this is how Saleh thinks, killing of Yemenis in order to remain as ruler .

Amr Mohammed AL Rishia

Text of the Fatwa on Yemeni protesters by state clerics

Filed under: Presidency, Religious, Yemen, protest statements, reconfigurations — by Jane Novak at 4:56 pm on Thursday, September 29, 2011

Both the fatwa and the UN HRC council statement will be interpreted by Saleh as a free hand to put down the protests. Saleh followed a similar pattern of obtaining a fatwa prior to launching major assaults on Houthis. The southern independence movement was also fatwa’d if memory serves and of course there was the infamous fatwa issued during the 1994 civil war.Update: also attended by The Commander of the Special Forces Tariq Mohamed Abdullha Saleh

Better: English translation from Yemen Fox:

NYR | YemenFox | A gathering of hundreds of pro-government clerics issued a controversial fatwa backing the regime and lashing out the opposition on Thursday . The clerics labeled the protests that demand the ouster of the regime as “sinful”, calling them to repent or classified as “aggressors”, whom should be fought against according to Islamic law.

After three days of discussion, the clerics issued communiqué clarifying their opinion on the current situation in Yemen.

“Revolting against the {Muslim} rulers either by words or actions is forbidden under the Holy Quran and Sunnah (the teachings of the Prophet). (Read on …)

Saleh asks for fatwa against protesters, Update: Shocka! Zindani says clerics org run by intel officer

Filed under: Presidency, Religious, Yemen, reconfigurations — by Jane Novak at 9:50 am on Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Saleh asks for a fatwa and he’ll probably get it too. Formal fatwas were issued in the 1994 civil war, and repeatedly against the Houthis. In addition Saleh has the capacity to send out talking points to the state Imams to talk up (or taqfir) the excommunication of his enemies, which makes them legitimate targets for death. Several journalists have also been singled out as enemies of Islam by the Yemeni government through the years. Saleh also has distributed talking points to the state’s preachers through the years that were incorporated into Friday sermons, legitimizing, and even encouraging as a duty, the death of both Houthis and Southerners on Islamic grounds.

This is only a small part of what I mean when I say the Sanaa regime legitimizes and perpetuates the al Qaeda philosophy. As the Salafi interpretation of Islam holds that to revolt against a Muslim ruler is haram, even if he is unjust, during the 2006 presidential election, Saleh brought Egyptian Sheikh al Masri (al Maribi), who runs the Dar al Hadeith Salifii school in Marib, to the stage in a rally that was broadcast nationally. Al Masiri issued a fatwa that voting against Saleh is prohibited by Islam. These are the same loyalist group of clerics that threatened a jihad against the US in the event of UN intervention; they are the mouthpiece of Saleh.

Update : Al Zindani says the Scholars Association is run by an intelligence officer, like we didnt know that already, and its suddenly a problem for him although he was a leader within the association for years? He said, “So why hold our ourselves with the Association of Yemen, which is managed in this way, by an officer in the intelligence, it is the door {and help one another in righteousness and piety and do not cooperate in sin and aggression}, and {interpretation of the meaning}”, was the meeting of the scholars of Yemen. Sheikh Zindani, has called for all officers and soldiers to refuse orders that sanction the killing of the Yemenis,

The National: SANAA // Yemen’s president Ali Abdullah Saleh yesterday urged loyal clerics to issue a fatwa against those calling for his removal from power.

In a speech to religious figures, Mr Saleh attempted to build a religious base to confront rivals insisting on his resignation.

“You have to state the ruling of God and His prophet on those who reject the extended hand for peace and dialogue and insist on revolting against constitutional legitimacy,” Mr Saleh said.

He returned last week to Yemen where clashes have been taking place between forces loyal to the president and defected troops protecting the protest camp in Sanaa where anti-government demonstrations have been under way for months.

The three-day conference attended by 500 clerics is expected to issue a statement tomorrow on the turmoil. Several leading clerics have already backed the protesters’ demands and urged Mr Saleh to step down.

Judge Mohammed Al Hajji, the chief of the Yemeni Clerics Association and an ally of Mr Saleh, said that those who refused dialogue with the government were seeking “sedition”. “There is nothing after sedition but chaos, destruction. There is no doubt that those who seek or call for sedition should bear the burden of that,” Mr Al Hajji told delegates.

Head of Dialog program, al Hittar says Saleh regime pays al Qaeda in Yemen

Filed under: Islamic Imirate, Presidency, Religious, Security Forces, War Crimes, Yemen, Yemen's Lies, protest statements, state jihaddists — by Jane Novak at 4:18 am on Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Of course Saleh is paying al Qaeda and has been paying al Qaeda to do his dirty work for years and the payments are ongoing. Judge Al Hittar who met many of the AQ leaders through the dialog program says now what I said in 2005, not one was reformed. He also says as I have said that the main conduits between the regime and the terrorists are through the security and intelligence services. Saleh and his relatives use AQAP as an instrument of foreign policy like they use the fanatics domestically. And the US must know this if everyone else knows it and has known it. Brennan must be deliberately lying with every statement and the embassy entirely content to knowingly betray millions of Yemenis in order to protect this relationship. The question is the US afraid of Saleh, in cahoots with Saleh or just stupid?

al Hadath (google translated): Chairman of the Commission launched a dialogue with members of the former al-Qaeda in Yemen and the Minister of Endowments and Guidance outgoing Judge Hamoud al-Hattar, a scathing attack on the Yemeni regime and accused him of “supporting a number of al Qaeda members in the show to frighten the West, and the suppression of the Yemeni revolution.”

Hitar announced in a statement the “Rai”, “that he knows many members of al-Qaeda in Yemen during his dialogue with them when he was chairman of the dialogue with Islamic militants, who are now dealing with the Yemeni regime and receive financial rewards.”

Hattar said, “It interlocutors over the past years did not return one of them, and did not Ihor number of al Qaeda who is dealing with the system, and accused the regime that gives them bonuses, refusing to reveal their names.”

He pointed out that “there is a committee of the system communicate with the base made ​​up of three officers, one in a private guards and the second in the national security and the third in the Interior.” And the contradictions of the opposition in their statements of information such as a «base» or not explained that «the media discourse of the opposition and the revolution was not successful », calling at the same time the opposition and called them« rebels »to« correct their mistakes ».

Saleh continues using religious terminology to discredit opponents

Filed under: Media, Religious, protest statements — by Jane Novak at 11:12 am on Thursday, August 25, 2011

Saleh, despite his claim of democratic legitimacy, has always played the religion card to justify himself, his wars and his refusal to share power. The southerners were described since 1994 as Godless because of the adoption of a socialist economic system and gender equality. The Houthis were described as Satanic. State preachers issued a fatwa that declared Houthi blood is free. Various journalists were described as being of the third sex (as well as CIA agents) or orgy enthusiasts.

During the 2006 presidential election, the Egyptian Sheikh al Masiri (also know as al Maribi because his Dar al Hadith offshoot school is in Marib) issued a fatwa during a live nation wide broadcast that voting for the opposition is condemned under Islamic law. Saleh also trashed the protesters on TV because of gender intermingling. (Yemen is the most gender segregated country on earth.)

The Salafi attitude that it is illegitimate to revolt against a Muslim ruler is supported by many Muslim leaders, but not shared by Zaidis; their tenants find it an obligation to oppose an unjust ruler as well as to rule by consultation. Along with the reinterpretation and interaction with others, these principles led the UN in 2002 to highlight the teachings of Imam Ali as a model for Islamic democracy. This Yemen Times article covers the regime’s use of state preachers to reinforce the message that the Yemeni revolution is un-Islamic. However, even al Zindani’s calls for an Islamic state to follow the current tyranny were widely disputed by activists and intellectuals who argued that a civil state is their right as well as a fulfillment of requirements of justice.

Conversely Saleh’s statements in support of jihad and the Iraqi resistance, Yahya Saleh praising the deaths of US soldiers from the stage at Sanaa University and so on, is an extensive topic on its own.

Yemen Times “Obey your leader even if he whips your back and takes your money.”

Since the beginning of the uprising in Yemen, President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s the regime has used a baffling number of ways to try to stifle the revolution.

One of these ways involves using religion to convince Yemenis that demands for President Saleh’s departure is forbidden and illegal in accordance with the Quran and Hadith (statements of the prophet Mohammed).

Saleh’s loyalists and religious sheikhs have intensified their religious activity during the past six months, using mosques and state-run media channels, with the aim of protecting Saleh from being toppled. (Read on …)

Al Zindani tries to justify inequality among Yemeni citizens

Filed under: Religious, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 10:20 pm on Thursday, July 28, 2011

Abdelmajid Al Zindani responds to an article critiquing his recent statement about the illegitimacy of democracy and the requirement of an Islamic state. There’s quite an open and vigorous defense by many intellectuals and activists in many papers and websites of the protesters goal of a civil state, and they counter al Zindani point by point. Many protesters are thoroughly scornful of al Zindani (who has been Saleh’s stooge for quite some time and be still be so, if the timing of his outbursts is any indication.)

al Masdar: Newspaper published the first article of Dr. Mohamed El-titled ” Al-Azhar and al-Zindani and civil state “and restored some of the newspapers and news sites publish the article was an effort in which the tiles on the readers, as well as its market a number of fallacies in order to distort the position of Sheikh Majid Bin Aziz Zindani chairman of the scholars of Yemen and Tbesara of public opinion and clarification for the reader confirms the office of Sheikh Zindani as follows: (Read on …)

Intellectuals, activists publish statement opposing al Zindani’s “hard line jihad incitement” against a civil state

Filed under: Civil Rights, Religious, Yemen, protest statements, reconfigurations — by Jane Novak at 1:33 pm on Sunday, July 24, 2011

IN response to Zindani’s call for an Islamic state, a heated letter defending the principles of the revolution. Its in Arabic but I thought it was important to note the vast majority of protesters are committed to equal rights including the right to worship freely. A secular government is not a God-less one as Zawaheri asserts, but one that affords all equal protections and equal rights to all sects. Religious tolerance is a concept that threatens the foundation of the Saudi theocracy perhaps even more than democracy. However I have a hard time buying Zindani at face value whatever he says; he’s been Saleh’s stooge for years.

Hurriyatsudan:
Statement issued by a number of Yemeni intellectuals and activists on the legitimacy of the civil revolution

“Zindani approach” to the oppression of Islam and the abuse of the revolution
With the dawn of the revolution in the arena of popular youth change in Sanaa, the Zindani and his current hard-line jihadi incitement against the state civil. Like this current horror inside Yemen and the Arab and international, pushing large numbers of the University of radical faith to the scene. (Read on …)

Yemeni scholars and clerics demand names of Abyan fighters in statement

Filed under: Abyan, Counter-terror, Religious, Tribes, Yemen's Lies, state jihaddists — by Jane Novak at 4:53 pm on Tuesday, July 19, 2011

In an appeal letter to vice president Mansour “Hadi,” clerics and intellectuals demand revealing the persons involved in the Abyan battles

ADEN 18 JULY A number of clerics and intellectuals in Delta Abyan located in Abyan governorate, south Yemen sent a message of appeal to the vice president Abd Rabo Mansour Hadi and called on him to take a series of procedures to be taken with regard to the bloody events which are taking place in the Abyan Delta region by the armed jihadists militant groups.

Armies of Liberation obtained a copy of the appeal letter which included five points as follows:

1) We praises the steadfastness of 25 Mica camp and assured our confidence in the ability of the various branches of the armed forces to liberate the Delta region, therefore demand quickly clinch the battle.

2) Accelerate bringing security forces in the city after its liberation to fixing security and preserve what remains of public and private property, that the state shall ensure safe return for displaced persons to their homes.

3) Reveal the names of the elements whom involved in the fighting and looting operations and submit them to the justice.

4) Establishing fund to rebuild the affected cities and villages and make statistics, develop plans and budget necessary to restore the infrastructure of electricity, water, and other services that fund will manage by group of people of the Delta.

5) Compensate those affected in military operation (dead, wounded and private property) and make necessary limitation to them and consider the dead as martyrs.

Protesters reject al Zindani’s call for a Yemen Taliban & renew demand for a Civil State

Filed under: Religious, Yemen, protest statements — by Jane Novak at 10:36 pm on Friday, July 15, 2011

The following is an accurate diagram created by a Yemeni analyst. Does the US want to insert itself further into the murky game of murder, theft and slavery or start over with new players? The Yemeni protesters are dying to overthrow this configuration while the Obama administration is pushing to keep it. Nearly all al Qaeda groups and divisions are satellites of these players and their elaborate and associated networks.

Zindani has been in Saleh’s pocket for so long that its hard to see him as an independent actor. Most major statements he makes have been timed to strengthen Saleh. Zindani recently denounced the protesters demand for a civil state and said a Taliban style Islamic emirate is the correct solution for Yemen. The protesters renewed their demands.

YAATC-
Thousands of demonstrators in protest to the squares of many cities, from Yemen to demonstrate in the Friday “for a civil state,” at a time which left five in the province of Abyan, and activists denounced the Yemeni Abdul Majid al-invitation to establish an Islamic state instead of a civil state.

In Sana’a infallibility came out the crowd into an arena of change in a demonstration calling for the construction of state law, as thousands gathered to demand the city of Ibb departure of the system and the establishment of the rule of law. (Read on …)

Zindani trashes secular people on internet, needs dictionary

Filed under: Religious, Sana'a, Yemen, protest statements, state jihaddists — by Jane Novak at 5:10 am on Sunday, May 22, 2011

A secular government is not one that rejects religion but one that protects all people equally to practice whatever religion they believe. Zindani also endorses the GCC proposal as a measure to avoid bloodshed. Update vid on role of Islam in the rev: watch it here.

Al Watan

الزنداني يصف الديمقراطية باللعبة ويهدد دعاة العلمانية Zindani describes the democratic game and threatens the advocates of secularism
السبت, 21-مايو-2011 Saturday, 21 – May -2011
( الوطن ) – دعا القيادي في التجمع اليمني للاصلاح المعارض -رئيس جامعة الايمان الشيخ عبد المجيد الزنداني، الشباب في الساحات وكل القوى السياسية والاجتماعية إلى عدم عرقلة جهود المبادرة الخليجية لتجنيب اليمن مزيدا من الدماء. (Home) – The leader of the Islah opposition – President of the University of faith, Sheikh Abdul Majeed al-Zindani, young people in the squares and all the political and social forces not to obstruct the efforts of the GCC initiative to spare further bloodshed Yemen. (Read on …)

Saleh fires Min. of Endowments, al Hittar, and Monday updates

Filed under: Ministries, Religious, protests — by Jane Novak at 8:17 am on Monday, March 14, 2011

Does Saleh think he can dialog with the nation the way he dialoged with al Qaeda? Al Hittar, who was head of the Ministry of Endowments, had previously engaged in Koranic dialog with al Qaeda to show them the error of their ways. The process was described as a charade by several former prisoners. Judge al Hittar extracted promises from 341 al Qaeda operatives to remain loyal to Saleh in exchange for their release from jail. Many turned to external jihad, some re-integrated with society and some became productive members of AQAP. The program was discontinued in 2005 after complaints from the US that graduates of the program were turning up in Iraq. So in Saleh’s deformed brain, this was the best man to convince the protest leaders to dialog. However, the JMP are not the protest leaders. BTW, the ministry of endowments has a lot of corruption, selling state land very cheep to elite, as well as its own private prison. Update: al Hittar says he resigned in protest of the civilian deaths and others in Ibb resigned from the GPC.

This is a brilliant comment from a Yemeni friend: “Despite regime’s repression (or perhaps because of it) protests are witnessing, day by day, increasing growth and momentum in numbers and kind and expanding from urban to rural areas. It is going to be a long process during which the ancient regime’s informal institutions are deconstructed and a new system evolves from grassroots to formal institutions.”

Saleh falling back on standard practices, deports four western journos, had stopped issuing journalistic visas weeks ago.

More lunacy: EU urges dialog

Marib governor Ahmed al Zaidi stabbed in neck outside govt building : BBC. Attack came after al Zaidi led an assault by pro-govt thus on anti-regime protesters which injured 35 al Sahwa

Small Wars Journal 5 page pdf re Saleh, AQAP and US: urges no US direct military involvement but extending government throughout nation. (A process that will only, can only, work once Saleh is gone, I might add.)

The Bakil tribe join the protests, a very big development, al Sahwa Chief of the Bakeel Ameen Al-Aokaime reached Monday the entrance of Sana’a University where hundreds of thousands of protestors demonstrate, insisting that he and his followers would not leave until the fall of Yemen’s regime. (Sheikh’s name often spelled Okaime or like that, is in Marib I believe.)

Yemen GONGO (gov’t NGO or clone) Women’s Union says unrest due to conspiracy against state, stooge site: Hour News

Yemeni Ambassador to Switzerland Abdullah al Noaman resigns his post to join the protesters, the first ambassador I believe. We’ve had judges, military men and telecasters resign but this is first ambassador etc.

Parliament confirms bullets not rubber bullets used in Aden. I would think the bullet wounds would have been enough. Nine killed, 30 wounded al Sahwa

47 killed in last four weeks of protests, News Yemen, including 31 in Aden and 6 among other provinces, a much more accurate count than 9.

SANAA, Yemen — Yemen’s president has fired a government minister for failing to persuade an expanding protest movement to end its monthlong challenge to his 32-year rule over one of the most impoverished and volatile corners of the Arab world. (Read on …)

Zindani’s 8 point plan for securing Saleh

Filed under: Religious, protests — by Jane Novak at 7:39 am on Friday, March 4, 2011

This was all tried and failed before. Saleh has no credibility whatsoever; he says whatever sounds good at the moment and then does whats necessary to prolong the his reign. Some of these exact formulations were forwarded and breached following the 2006 election and in the general amnesty in May 2010. Saleh has been telling the same lies for decades and has no credibility with a majority of the population although the US always seems willing to believe him. Al Zindani for his part is supporting Saleh and a continuance of the system through a sideways move, like when he threatened jihad on the US last year. They are very talented, and since Zindani’s statement about an Islamic caliphate, there’s been a marked shift in the coverage of the Yemeni protests highlighting the threat of an al Qaeda state in Saleh’s absence. Its the same old tired conceptualization that brought us to this situation in the first place. The idea that the protests are strengthening al Qaeda may be true in a narrow, short-term way but it misses the reality entirely.

Yemen clerics support 8 point initiative to end crisis
[04/مارس/2011]

SANA’A, March 04 (Saba) – Yemen clerics have approved an eight point initiative to end the current crisis in the country.

The initiative was offered to President Ali Abdullah Saleh and the clerics by Yemeni prominent cleric Abdul-Majed al-Zindani in an attempt to stop the protests demanding political changes in the country. (Read on …)

Zindani backs Saleh with call for Islamic state

Filed under: Presidency, Religious, Yemen, protests — by Jane Novak at 1:11 pm on Tuesday, March 1, 2011

NYT: SANA, Yemen — As thousands of demonstrators for and against President Ali Abdullah Saleh took to the streets on Tuesday, a cleric who is a former mentor of Osama bin Laden joined them to call for the replacement of the government with an Islamic state. (Read on …)

AQAP declares war on Yemen’s Houthi movement over Sunni displacement when 300,000 Zaidis fled state bombing

Filed under: Amran, Presidency, Religious, Sa'ada, Saada War, al Jawf, aq statements — by Jane Novak at 10:17 am on Saturday, January 29, 2011

There’s over 300,000 displaced in Sa’ada by the Yemeni military’s (and Saudi) attacks and bombing, and AQAP is declaring war because the Houthis forced people to move??? Is al Qaeda’s Saed Shihri trying to be stupid or does it just come naturally? Like many, AQAP is out of touch with the moment.

Well thats convenient timing for Saleh. a) The Yemeni military cant re-start the war at the moment but the terrorists can, b) It certainly shows the international community that they neeeeeeeeed Saleh, c) Nothing like a good crisis to distract the people’s hostility toward the state, d) With the Houthis in control of large swaths of those areas, the officially facilitated smuggling operations into Saudi are impacted and profits diminished, e) How can you buy weapons (and resell them on the black market) for a war that’s over? f) Saudi funds rise and fall in relation to perceived threats.

SANAA, Jan. 28 (Xinhua) — Leader of al-Qaida militants in Yemen declared “holy war” against the Houthi-led northern Shiite rebels, in an audio message posted on the internet by al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) on Friday.

“To our Sunni fellows in northern Yemeni provinces of Saada, Al- Jouf and Amran, we (AQAP) announced jihad (holy war) against Iranian-backed Houthi Shiite advocates,” Saeed Ali al-Shihri, deputy leader of the Yemen-based AQAP.

“The jihad against northern Shiites has been declared since the implementation of the AQAP’s twin martyred car bombing attacks against convoys of the Shiite rebels’ followers in northern provinces of Al-Jouf and Saada on Nov. 24 and Nov. 26 of the last year,” he said.

In the 17-minute audiotape, the Saudi fugitive al-Shihri justified his group’s war against the Shiite rebels by claiming that the sectarian-motivated Houthi rebels attacked and displaced many Sunni families in the north.

Last December, the Sunni-devoted AQAP claimed responsibility for twin suicide car bombings against convoys of the Shiite rebels ‘ followers in northern provinces of Al-Jouf and Saada on Nov. 24 and Nov. 26, 2010, which left over than 90 Shiite followers dead, including the group’s Shiite spiritual leader Bader al-Deen al- Houthi.

OK maybe they are just idiots:

Opinions: An Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) leader warned Sunni Muslims of a rising “Christian-Shiite alliance” against them in an audio message released on jihadist forums late on Friday.

Abu Sufyan al-Azdi called the participation of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Iran’s former foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki at a conference on terrorism in Yemen “is the biggest proof of the Christian-Shiite alliance.”

“America and Iran became one alliance against the Sunni people in the area,” added the Saudi AQAP leader, who was formerly imprisoned for six years at the US detention centre inGuantanamo, in a 16-minute audio message.

Azdi was referring to the annual Manama Dialogue, held in December by the London-based International Institute of Strategic Studies and billed as the “most important regional security meeting in the Middle East.”

The AQAP chief also warned Sunnis in Yemen that they risked being massacred at the hands of northern Shiite Zaidi rebels, also known as Huthis, and urged them not to be caught unprepared.

“Sunnis, be careful from the massacres… that happened in Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen to happen to you while you are unarmed… prepare yourselves before it is too late… buy weapons… protect your religion, your lives and your honour.”

Anwar Awlaki sentenced in absentia to 10 years

Filed under: Religious, TI: Internal, Trials, UK amb, Yemen, anwar, political violence, state jihaddists — by Jane Novak at 11:46 am on Sunday, January 23, 2011

The judge said Anwar and his cousin incited the security guard, a member of the security forces, to murder the French engineer.

BBC: A Yemeni court has sentenced a man to death for killing a French contractor near the capital Sanaa last year. The court also sentenced in his absence radical US-born Yemeni Islamist cleric Anwar al-Awlaki to 10 years in jail for aiding the gunman. (Read on …)

Indoctrination of Yemeni military continues

Filed under: Military, Religious, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:22 am on Saturday, January 15, 2011

Saleh attends graduation of first soldier batch of Koran memorizers
[13/يناير/2011] SABA
SANA’A, Jan 13 (Saba) – President Ali Abdullah Saleh attended on Thursday the graduation ceremony of the first soldier batch of Koran memorizers at the al Saleh Sharia Sciences College at al Saleh Mosque.

The ceremony was organized by the Army’s Moral Guidance Division.
(Read on …)

The Rise of North Yemeni Islamism in Birmingham, U.K.

Filed under: Education, Religious, South Yemen, UK, Yemen, other jihaddists — by Jane Novak at 1:03 pm on Monday, January 10, 2011

Nu’man Abd al-Wahid: The Rise of North Yemeni Islamism in Birmingham, U.K.
Published by Diane Warth on 30 November 2010

http://karmalised.com/?p=14880

by Nu’man Abd al-Wahid

One of the reasons generally given for the rise of extreme Islamism is the Arab defeat at the hands of Israel in 1967 in the six day war.

It is theorised that, from this defeat (or Naksa as the Arabs refer to it), loomed the beginning of the end of Arab Nationalism and other, largely secular ideologies, which had hitherto led the struggle to liberate the Middle East from western domination and zionist colonialism. This defeat created the vacuum political Islamism has supposedly filled since. (Read on …)

Churches in Aden and the persecution of Christians in Yemen

Filed under: Aden, Civil Society, Religious, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:08 am on Thursday, January 6, 2011

Below the fold is a write up on the churches in Aden that omits that there are many secret converts to Christianity in Yemen who are ostracized and threatened and several Christians are in jail for the crime of conversion. The following article is about Open Door’s annual listing of 10 worst persecutors of Christians and Yemen retains its place at number seven.

WND Exclusive FAITH UNDER FIRE, “Of the top 10 countries on the 2011 WWL, eight have Islamic majorities. Persecution has increased in seven of them,” the ministry reported today. (Read on …)

Al Iman University employees linked to al Ghadeer AQAP terror attack, report Update: al Iman students targeted Taiz governor

Filed under: Hodeidah, Religious, Sa'ada, Saada War, Sana'a, Taiz, Yemen, anwar, political violence, suicide attacks — by Jane Novak at 9:33 am on Monday, December 6, 2010

‎Al Iman is headed by Sheik Abdulmagid al Zindani, a specially listed terrorist and political ally of President Saleh. Anwar al Awlaki was a teacher at al Iman and is a member of AQAP which claimed the suicide attack in a written statement. The Houthis have denied that Badr al Din was killed in the attack and say he died of natural causes the next day. Update: Below the fold is an article from from Naba that I’ve been meaning to post since last week about the arrest of six al Iman students in Taiz (who trained in at a mosque in Hodeidah) for terror related charges including a plot to attack the governor of Taiz and vital installations. One member of the cell was killed 10/25/10 aboard a motorcycle when his bomb exploded prematurely.

‎”Aden Times – Special Monday 06/12/2010 Announced local sources Yemen on Monday implicated members of the University of Islamic Faith and administered by Sheikh Abdul Majeed al Zindani-a prominent cleric in Yemen- in the assassination of the spiritual leader Badr Eddin al, who had already announced Houthis his death in November 24 (November) last year. The Yemeni police detained a number of employees of the Islamic University, which take from the capital of Yemen, Sana’a based on suspicion of carrying out the assassination of those. (Read on …)

Yahya al Houthi: There is no sectarian conflict in Saada

Filed under: Donors, UN, Religious, Sa'ada, aq statements, suicide attacks — by Jane Novak at 9:31 am on Monday, December 6, 2010

After the first car bombing, Abdelmalik made a strong statement that they would not be dragged into a sectarian conflict that artificially pits Zaidis against Sunnis in Yemen. And it makes no sense to frame it that way. AQAP vs. the Houthis, yes. Sunni vs. Shia, no. At Al Mempar Yahya al Houthis criticizes (the IRIN news site of) the United Nations for framing the conflict in Saada as sectarian. He explains

1) the commonality between the Zaids and the four Sunni Schools of Yemen but Wahabbis working for Saudi Arabian intelligence and interests are another story. 2) the checkpoints (as I noted) were there from the inception of the Saada Wars and are not a sign of sectarian strife. Everybody has checkpoints through out Yemen including various tribes as well as bandits. 3) he calls for an apology from the UN although IRIN newsite is a news site not an UN press releases. The offending article at IRIN is here.

Following al Ghadeer arrests, police throw rocks, arrest HR activist

Filed under: Amran, Civil Rights, Religious, Yemen, prisons — by Jane Novak at 9:25 am on Monday, December 6, 2010

25 Zaids arrested on al Ghadeer day for celebrating the holiday including a 60 year old Imam. His son was arrested when he went to the police station to inquire about his father.

Yemen Times: SANA’A, Dec.1 — Human rights activist Mohammad Al-Moayad was detained by police in Amran yesterday when he went to the police station to enquire why Zaidis were arrested last Friday.

Police arrested at least 25 Zaidis on Friday when they commemorated Al-Ghadeer day, a Shiite religious ceremony. Al-Moayad is a member of the Yemeni Democratic Organization for Defending Human Rights that had obtained permission from the Supreme Court to investigate police charges against the Zaidis. (Read on …)

Yemeni Minster of Endowments Judge Hamoud Al Hittar Interview

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Counter-terror, Ministries, Religious — by Jane Novak at 11:30 am on Saturday, December 4, 2010

I would love to fisk this, there’s just so much that needs clarification, but no time. For the record, there was never any dialog with the Houthis, just fatwas and torture.

Al-Hitar comments on dialogue held with al-Qaeda, Huthists
[23/نوفمبر/2010]
SANA’A, Nov. 23 (Saba) – Endowments Minister Hamud al-Hitar has said the terrorist operations began in Yemen when the security services prioritized the military solution. (Read on …)

Saudi al Qaeda wives

Filed under: Religious, Saudi Arabia, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 11:38 am on Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Arab news: Saudi women played a marginal role in deviant group’s activities

Wafa Al-Shehri is another notable Saudi female terrorist. She is wife of Saeed Al-Shehri, the second in command of Al-Qaeda in Yemen. Her association with Al-Qaeda started with her marriage to Abdul Rahman Al-Ghamdi, who was killed in a clash with police in Taif in 2004. Later, Wafa married former Guantanamo detainee Al-Shehri after fleeing to Yemen.
(Read on …)

Al Qaeda Prisoners Torture Houthi Prisoners in Sana’a Jail: Rights Group

Filed under: Hajjah, Religious, Sa'ada, Sana'a, Yemen, prisons — by Jane Novak at 8:01 am on Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Yemen Post adds a line to their write up on the car bombing: On Tuesday, reports surfaced that Al-Qaeda detainees in the Central Prison in Sana’a attacked Houthi detainees, beating them and leaving some of them in critical condition. Its unsurprising. This has been going on for years. This is not a lunchroom fight between two gangs. It is officially sanctioned, repetitive, and occurs in many jails. Al Eshteraki reports in this case, the violence occurred in the PSO prison in Sana’a (from which the the 23 al Qaeda operatives escaped in 2006): Assault on dozens of detainees, “Saada” political security in Yemen, al Eshteraki The revolving door for terrorists is frustrating but even when imprisoned, al Qaeda operatives often have a higher status than other prisoners and “perks.” The following Yemen Times article also touches on takfiri Friday sermons against Ismailis and other Shia sects, and that over 600 Houthi prisoners remain in jail despite the supposed amnesty.

Yemen Times: SANA’A, Nov. 24 — The National Organization for Defending Rights and Freedoms (HOOD) have accused officials in the Political Security Prison of inciting detained Al-Qaeda suspects against their Shiite Zaydis counterparts in the prison.

The organization said in a press release dated Nov. 23, 2010, that officials in the prison provoked suspected Al-Qaeda members who are Sunnis to assault Zaydis detainees claiming that they are Shiites and thus are ‘non-believers’.

Ali Al-Dailami, the executive officer of HOOD told the Yemen Times that his organization reported several assaults against detainees of the Sa’ada war by Al-Qaeda suspects in the prison after they were incited by officials in the prison.

“Four days ago, ten detainees including Al-Ezzi Saleh Rajeh, Nabeel Al-Ezzi Al-Mutwakel, Mohamed Ali, Abdul-Jabbar Al-Jarmozi and others were severely beaten by other inmates,” said Al-Dailami. (Read on …)

Bumped: Suicide car bomb targets al Ghadeer procession in al Jawf, Yemen killing 17, Update: Houthis blame US

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Religious, Saada War, TI: Internal, al Jawf, attacks, state jihaddists, suicide attacks — by Jane Novak at 8:40 am on Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The post was bumped because the suicide attack today may be in retaliation for the Houthis capture of Ali Hussain al Tais and other al Qaeda operatives in Saada, which prompted the al Qaeda kidnapping of Sa’ada PSO deputy Ali Abdul Hosam. Maybe. (The regime’s counter-spin was that al Tais, a former Gitmo detainee surrendered.) What it feels like is the bombing of the al Salman mosque which precipitated the fifth Sa’ada war and the kidnapping of the western medical workers, which precipitated the sixth.

Original: In an overt al Qaeda attack on Yemeni civilians, a suicide car bomb targeted an al Ghadeer procession in al Jawf, Yemen. Fatalities are estimated at 24 including two children and a Sheik in his 80’s. The Saada Wars began in 2004 between the al Qaeda infested Yemeni military and a small group of Shia rebels. The sixth war ended in a truce early this year. Hundreds of thousands of Saada residents are still displaced by the fighting, and many are in al Jawf. Al Ghadeer day, a mainstream Shia holiday, was outlawed in Yemen from 2005 through 2008 and many were arrested for their religious observances. Last year some boys lighting firecrackers (a traditional means of celebrating) were arrested in Sana’a. This year Abdelmalik al Houthi issued a statement urging worshipers to take part in celebrations and to conserve their bullets, and not fire into the air.

I’m curious if this bomb matches any other al Qaeda car bombs including the September 2006 twin attacks on the oil installations, the July 2007 al Qaeda attack on the tourists in Marib, the August 2008 car bombing in Sayoun and the September 2008 attack on the US embassy.

An outbreak of intense clashes near the Saudi border between the Houthis and “pro-government tribes” was already straining the truce. While all of al Qaeda’s tactics are deplorable, targeting people who are going to pray is particularly repugnant. This is the first time there has been an open al Qaeda attack on the Houthis, normally they pretend to be soldiers or tribal volunteers. In this case it may be the inverse, soldiers pretending to be al Qaeda. All the lines become blurred in Sa’ada. Unfortunately there are plenty of brainwashed teen-agers to deploy as suicide bombers.

Update: the Houthis blame the US for the crime, seriously. See statement and article below. In another statement to the WaPo, they suspect al Qaeda, but the Houthis think that al Qaeda is a CIA proxy so the statements are not contradictory.

Update 2, 24 dead including two children, CNN: Almasmari said he had spoken to government officials who blamed al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, as the Yemeni wing of the network calls itself. The officials declined to be named, he said, saying they were not authorized to speak to the media. Almasmari said AQAP recently said the procession was a legitimate target for attack.

Update 3: In retaliation for the Houthis capturing several of the al Tais in August. The Houthis turned them over to the security forces. Al Qaeda then captured the deputy PSO chief in Sa’ada and issued a 48 hour deadline in September. Since then nothing.

YemenOnline.Nov24,2010 – No one claimed immediate responsibility but a tribal leader told Yemen media that Al Qaeda carried out the attack as retaliation against the Houthis for detaining five Al Qaeda operatives earlier this year.The explosion -– believed to have been detonated by a suicide bomber in a car -– targeted Shiite tribesmen on their way to a holy festival, known as Ghadeer, in Jawf province south of the Saudi border. As many as 30 people were injured….Local sources said Islamic militants were likely behind the attack: “Al Qaeda affiliates believe that celebration of Al Ghadeer is not Islamic. The sources said Al Qaeda repeatedly issued fatwas that Al Ghadeer is ‘Bedah’, not (a) truly Islamic occasion to celebrate.”

(Read on …)

Zawaheri in Yemen (1990’s) and Nuclear Terror

Filed under: Counter-terror, Religious, TI: External, USA, USS Cole, Yemen, state jihaddists — by Jane Novak at 11:31 am on Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Zawaheri spent a lot of time in Yemen in the 1990’s, many of these relationships remain intact. Osama bin Laden was also a frequent visitor. One strong line of thinking in the ME puts bin Laden behind the murder of Azzam. Also we cannot assess AQAP as a new entity that sprung fully formed from the womb of the PSO prison in 2006, without taking into account the context of the prior three decades, and the global inter-relation among various jihaddis and groups, that would be stupid.

Al Qaeda’s Religious Justification of Nuclear Weapons NFB: “This vanguard constitutes the solid base [qaeda in Arabic] for the hoped-for society … We shall continue the jihad no matter how long the way, until the last breath and the last beat of the pulse–or until we see the Islamic state established.”[1] Abdullah Azzam

When legendary jihadist Abdullah Azzam was assassinated under mysterious circumstances in November 1989, suspects in his murder included Osama bin Laden and Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. (Read on …)

Deradicalization efforts in Yemen

Filed under: Civil Society, Counter-terror, Religious, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:19 am on Wednesday, November 17, 2010

This is a good thing.

MEOL: LONDON – The Right Start Foundation and the Chairman of its board of trustees, Amr Khaled, have launched the ultimate struggle to win over the Yemeni public’s hearts and minds, in a battle to favor Islam’s intermediacy and moderation. They have started a monumental project that confronts extremist ideology in Yemen.

The struggle will be waged across three fields.

The field of media and information includes a group of icons who represent Islamic preaching will accompany Khaled to Yemen, and will start an extended media campaign aided by the Yemeni Ministry of Information. The campaign will be propagated through all of Yemen’s media outlets, forums, websites, mosque pulpits and television channels.

This media campaign will be led by Khaled and a group of preachers who call for intermediacy. In it, they will rebuff Al-Qaeda’s ideology and direct the Yemeni people to the ideas of temperance and moderation.

The field of youth leaders is a project that will achieve public presence through youth leaders from all the cities of Yemen, who are to be trained under the supervision of Khaled and his foundation. Thus, the campaign will have delegates confronting extremism in every city and governorate in Yemen.

The field of preachers is a campaign will select 100 renowned preachers and scholars who enjoy public approval, and train them under the supervision of Khaled and the International Right Start Foundation, aided by the Ministry of Endowments (Awqaf). They will be trained to broadcast the true Islamic thoughts that counter the thoughts of extremist ideology, and will be allowed access to media outlets and Friday sermons, thus empowering the circulation of the true Islamic ideas that defy extremism.

Judge in Ibb, Yemen jails a raped pregnant child

Filed under: Children, Civil Rights, Ibb, Medical, Religious, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:17 am on Monday, November 15, 2010

A 14 year old girl was raped by her father and became pregnant. For God’s sakes, why would the judge put her in jail and not a hospital?

al Tagheer: Lawyer Adnan Al Jabri, who pleads in the case of a child raped in the governorate of Ibb, expressed his displeasure at what was happened to Sumaia M. A. A. (14 years) who was raped by her father and then sent to prison, when he tried to release her through a number of memoranda from many authorities, including human rights, but all the attempts have failed.

The Yemeni police has arrested on October 5, 2010 a person accused of raping his daughter, who made pregnant.

According to exclusive sources of “Al Thagheer” the Security Administration in Khadeer Al Odein in Ibb governorate accused “M. A. A. 37-year-old,” of raping his daughter (Sumaia) 14-year, last month.

Lawyer Al Jabri, said in a statement to “Al Thagheer” that the head of Mudaikhara Court, Judge Ali Issa, is insisting on imprisoning her without justification.

Al Jabri added: she was investigated just as a defendant and was taken into the custody of the central prison in Ibb, rather than taking care of her in any social department, and her only fault that she was raped by her father and made her pregnant, which caused her psychological health to decline, as well as the continuous delay of the DNA examination, pointing out that the lack of such tests in such issues, which happen to lives of female children, that the scarcity of centers or private hospitals is the biggest obstacle in the proceedings of the case, stressing that such an examination identifies the perpetrator of the crime and according to it the litigation continues. (Read on …)

Packages addressed to long dead monk-warriors

Filed under: Religious, UPS bombs, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 11:28 am on Sunday, November 7, 2010

I’m A Docile Pupil of a Monkey Monk myself. (Or not.) Today’s monk reference is via Internet Anthropologist, Gerald, (click here):

The address names on the UPS and FEDEX package were Pierre l’Ermite and Diego Gelmírez and the street address was that of only one synagogue in Chicago. Whom are they?
Pierre l’Ermite, is AKA Peter the Hermit, 1050-1115, a French monk. In 1095 he instigated the First Crusade. With help from the Byzantine emperor Alexius I he and his irregular band took Jerusalem.
Diego Gelmírez of Santiago de Compostela conceived of a N African invasion route intending to unite the reconquest of Spain (from Muslims) with the Crusades to the Holy Land, forming a single Mediterranean-wide crusading theatre. He was one of the most famous Spanish monk-warriors leading the expulsion of Muslims from Spain.

Dar al Hadieth (Dammaj) Islamic Institute has 4000 offshoots

Filed under: Dammaj, Religious — by Jane Novak at 1:13 pm on Thursday, November 4, 2010

Wow. That’s an interesting stat. The way it was explained to me is there is the headquarters of the Dar al Hadieth Institute in Dammaj, Saada and eight major flagship schools serving hundreds or thousands of resident students each, and hundreds of smaller outposts sprinkled all over Yemen. Recently the connection between the al Qaeda training camp at Abu Jabarah and the Dammaj Institute in Saada became clearer. The school is well funded.

Ahram: It is true that graduates of the Saudi-financed Salafi schools spread throughout the poverty-stricken country can be recruited easily by extremist groups. “Graduates of these schools are almost ready to be Al-Qaeda members,” Said Obaid, chairman of the Al-Jemhi Centre for Researches and Studies, a think tank specialised in Al-Qaeda affairs, told Al-Ahram Weekly.

Obaid mentioned in particular the first ever Dammaj Centre in Saada which was founded by the late Salafi cleric Mukbel Al-Wadi who graduated from the Saudi Wahabi schools. Nearly 4,000 schools now are offspring of Dammaj which was founded in late 1980s.

“The top leader of Al-Qaeda in Yemen, Nasser Al-Wahaishi, graduated from such a school,” said Obaid, who studied for a while in Dammaj before he became a researcher and the author of the book Al-Qaeda in Yemen. “The leader of Al-Qaeda in Mudia Jamil Al-Ambori, who was killed in a security operation last March and other prominent members are alumni.”

Religious Committee including Zindani to guide public policy to return to Islamic Law

Filed under: Presidency, Reform, Religious, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 1:00 pm on Thursday, November 4, 2010

The ecosystem of al Qaeda in Yemen includes official public discourse legitimizing the concept of takfirism, the obligation to jihad in “occupied Muslim lands”, and the supremacist Wahabbi doctrine which is propagated in schools as well as mosques. The threat of the Talabanization of Yemen, the broad indoctrination of the public–including the military–into the al Qaeda mindset is thwarted by many indigenous safeguards but not the government. Saleh is willing to accept the input of these hard core religious clerics but not representatives of the disenfranchised citizenry including the residents of Saada and the south.

26 September Reference Scholars Committee to Provide Consultation and Advice began its activities today by providing its advice to the president on latest developments inside and outside Yemen.

In his meeting with the committee on Tuesday, the president stressed on the rule and duties of the scholars on educating people on their religious and others issues and guiding youth the right path and be away of extremism.

The scholars stressed on integrating efforts and unifying national fronts to face crises created by some elements. The president then got acquainted with the committee’s activities and preparations taken to start duties in respect to national public issues referred to it to provide consultation to the president on them.

The committee was formed on October by a republican decree last month. President met with scholars last Ramadan and discussed with national issues.

According to the decree, the committee will examine issues referred to them by the president. It will also be in charge of solving differences between any disputing parties and to convince them to “return to” Islamic law. Saba

Yemen: “Fanatics to have intercourse with children in the Parliament”

Filed under: Children, Parliament, Religious, Women's Issues — by Jane Novak at 3:24 pm on Monday, November 1, 2010

Yes I know that’s a poor google translation of an al Wasat headline about the dispute over the marriage age in Yemen, but the fanatics are claiming their right to have intercourse with children all over Yemen, they might as well do it in the Parliament.

The Yemeni Parliament is overwhelmingly illiterate, and comprised of powerful sheiks and businessmen. Half of Yemeni female children are married before 15, and many before 12 and mortality rates are very high. Most drop out of school if they ever attend. With 70% in rural areas, most spend their lives doing manual labor. Here’s an English language write up of last week’s debate, which came to blows with sticks and fists, but it is not only Islah’s MP’s that support child marriage, some in the GPC do as well. The drive is to set the marriage age at 18, but even 15 would be a vast improvement.

YemenOnline.oct 28,2010- Debate was intensified between the MPs of ruling party GPC and opposition Islamist Islah party in the House of Representatives last Wednesday because of determining of marriage age of minors in Yemen . MPs of GPC demanded to vote on the new law that Which sets the marriage age from 18 years old while the Islamists MPs rejected that on the grounds of its contrary to Islamic dispensation. Sultan Al-Barakni,head of MPs group of GPC stressed that his party has the majority and they approved to determine minors marriage age.

We decided to vote in favor of law’ Al-Barakini declared. Two of Islamists MPs attempted to attack Al-Barakini using their hands and sticks . So, the Spokesman of the parliament decided to postpone the vote on the law until another session

State preacher fatwa’s Southern protesters from Al Saleh Mosque, Sana’a

Filed under: Religious, South Yemen, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 3:21 pm on Monday, November 1, 2010

The Preacher of the Al Saleh Mosque in Sana’a, Akram Saleh Mohsen Alrqhristi, who is a graduate from the University of Faith (Al Iman) in Sana’a said during last Friday’s sermon: “It is permissible to beat the necks of those calling for disengagement in the southern provinces,” thus legitimizing shedding their blood and killing them.

Now how is the state supposed to tamp down on the al Qaeda ideology when it uses the jihaddist, takfiri rationale to fatwa its enemies. There are constitutional arguments that are never made and are probably never imagined because the constitution is normally ignored. The religious button works very well.

6000 state preachers face paycut

Filed under: Economic, Religious, Yemen, govt budget — by Jane Novak at 9:29 am on Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The economic crisis hits across the board.

al Masdar: As explained Hattar in response to a question by Deputy Abdul Malik Algosos on the reduction of bonuses allocated to the preachers from 10 thousand to 5 thousand riyals per month, he explained that the global financial crisis prevented the government’s ability to adopt the ten thousand riyals 6000 preacher in the various governorates of the republic, where distributed the same amount, which was based in the year 2008 of $ 720 million riyals by 5 thousand riyals for each speaker.
وتمنى الهتار على مجلس النواب الوقوف مع وزارته في الحصول الاعتمادات المطلوبة لصرف إعاشة 27 ألف جامع. Hattar and wished the House to stand with his ministry to get the appropriations required for the disbursement of subsistence 27 thousand inclusive.
من جانبه اعتبر النائب القصوص في تعقيبه على وزير الأوقاف أنه من المعيب استقطاع إعاشة خطباء المساجد وهي مسماة بإعاشة رئيس الجمهورية والتي جاءت أثناء الانتخابات الرئاسية 2006م ، مشيرا إلى أن خطباء في المحافظات الجنوبية ليس لهم سببا للعيش سوى هذه المخصصات. For his part, MP Algosos in commenting on the Minister of Awqaf and it is shameful deducting subsistence preachers Biashp is named President of the Republic, which came during the presidential election in 2006, pointing out that the preachers in the southern provinces have no reason to live apart from these provisions.

Indoctrinating the Yemeni army in extremist views

Filed under: Military, Religious, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 10:53 am on Monday, October 4, 2010

Yes and its been going on for years and not just by Ali Mohsen’s extremist office manager. Al Qaeda’s army in Yemen is not the AAIA but a portion of the actual army. Its not just the Tais al Qaeda faction who have military posts or Badr al Hassani who is on the payroll of the PSO.

al Eshteraki

Employment security of the Salafis and the enrichment of al Qaeda: Save the Quran in 15 days: When the army barracks to become more violent religion Copy

Mohammed Ayesh wrote:

ما الذي يتوقع الرئيس علي عبد الله صالح أن نحمده عليه : اهتمامه بتحفيظ القرآن الكريم ، أم تحويله وحدات الجيش إلى كتائب سلفية ؟ What is expected of President Ali Abdullah Saleh said that we praise him: his interest in teaching people to memorize the Koran, or converted, and army units to the Salafist Brigades? (Read on …)

Vote on marriage age in Yemen delayed again

Filed under: Children, Civil Rights, Parliament, Religious, Women's Issues — by Jane Novak at 10:34 am on Monday, October 4, 2010

Hardliners maintain their opposition. Yemeni girls are the voiceless of the voiceless.

Other news from Parliament includes Saleh orders the dropping the election amendment after the JMP withdraws, and Chairman of the Central Organisation for Control and Auditing (COCA) Dr Abdullah al-Sanafi presented a statement on revising accounts of the state for the last year. I’d love to see those figures.

z(CNN) — Yemen’s parliament has delayed a vote on a child-marriage law that would have raised the minimum legal age for marriage to 17. (Read on …)

Saleh establishes psuedo virtue and vice committee to deal with public issues

Filed under: Presidency, Religious — by Jane Novak at 1:46 pm on Thursday, September 30, 2010

It would be nice if they called for justice and an end to the theft of public money, but likely they will fatwa the reformers and democrats. The premise that it is un-Islamic to oppose a Muslim leader is very convenient if you are a Muslim leader. Saleh is seeking legitimacy from government clerics and scholars because he has lost it constitutionally and among public opinion. Its not a way to create consensus but to avoid the need for it. Its long been an al Qaeda demand as well.

Presidential decree to establish Islamic scholarly committee

SANA’A, Sep. 30 (Saba)- A Presidential decree No. 16 for 2010 was issued on Thursday stipulating the establishment of Islamic Scholars Committee tasked with providing consultation and advice. The Committee will mainly target the government so as to ensure the national interest according to the Islamic Sharea.

al Tagheer (Read on …)

Sanaa Book Fair a Vehicle for Terrorist and Extremist Works

Filed under: Education, Ministries, Religious, Sana'a, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 12:54 pm on Thursday, September 30, 2010

It is an indication of the strength of Saleh’s extremist supporters that moderate books are excluded from a book fair, the point of which in theory is to bring new literature to the nation. Yemen Observer

A group of Yemeni intellectuals, writers, and thinkers are boycotting the 27th session of the Sana’a Book Fair, according to a release statement sent to Yemen Observer by the group.

The group said the Ministry of Culture, who is organizing the Book Fair, did not allow fiction works of Yemeni and Arabs to enter and be viewed in the Book Fair, well-known publishing houses were also absent, which “reflected on the credibility of the body that organizes the fair.”

Another objection the group noted was the oriented-takfir books which call for extremism and terrorism. (Read on …)

Updated: The same clerics who threatened jihad on US now part of national dialog

Filed under: Dammaj, Elections, Presidency, Religious — by Jane Novak at 7:13 pm on Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Update: And members of the Commission as announced by the President consisting of “Sheikh Abdel Majid al-Zindani, Judge Ahmed Mohammed al-Shami, Mohammed Ismail, Urban, and Hussein Mohammed Hadar, and Ali Baruiz, Ahmed Bamwalim, Mohammed Ali Marei, Abdul Malik minister, Omar Bin Hafeez, Nasser al-Shaibani, Abdullah Bahermz “.

OP: The JMP already discounted and disowned them as part of the dialog. Saleh is stressing the importance of grounding the discussion in religious legitimacy. Meanwhile the scholars position has been that opposition to Saleh is illegitimate under Islamic law. Al Masiri, the Salafi head of the Dar al Hadieth institute in Marib, said as much on TV during a rally during the 2006 presidential campaign

President receives dialog reference scholars committee SANA’A, Sep. 21 (Saba) – President Ali Abdullah Saleh met here on Tuesday with the scholars committee formed early in September as a reference for the national issues, including the national dialog. (Read on …)

Sports Minister sacks Yemeni Chess Team after they play Israelis

Filed under: Civil Society, Diplomacy, Religious, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:00 pm on Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Update: Yemen ambassador to Moscow says they withdrew from the match and forfeited. How stupid this is.

Lahj net

Argument Net:
اتخذ وزير الشباب والرياضة الاستاذ حمود عباد قرارا يقضي باقالة اتحاد لعبة الشطرنج وشطب جميع اللاعبين المشاركين في اولمبياد العالم للشطرنج المقام حاليا في بلاروسيا بعد لقاءات جمعت لاعبين يمنيين بلاعبين اسرائيلين. Taken and the Minister of Youth and Sports Mr Hamoud slaves of a decision to dismiss the Union of the game of chess and write off all the players participating in the World Chess Olympics currently taking place in Belarus after the interviews collected for the players Yemeni players Israelis. (Read on …)

The southerners explaination for all the al Qaeda attacks in South Yemen

Filed under: 3 security, Religious, South Yemen, TI: Internal, Targeted Individuals, Yemen's Lies, state jihaddists — by Jane Novak at 12:29 pm on Tuesday, September 14, 2010

To wipe out the people with inside knowledge of all the dirty tricks, and that was the buzz on the attack on the prison and they are mysteriously re-zoning all of the Aden free zone. Its a giant conspiracy theory and if one quarter of it is true, then the US is in deep trouble. I like the part where the author analyzes the al Qaeda statements and really al Qaeda has been wheeling and dealing with the Saleh regime for two decades.

Saada Aden Revealed a legal expert and political analyst south of the facts confirm beyond any reasonable doubt and the parking system the occupation of Sana’a and behind all terrorist attacks in the areas of the South recently targeted a number of figures southern security headquarters and facilities of the State under the pretext of “Al Qaeda” emphasizes partnership this system in the industry of terrorism. (Read on …)

Hussain al Ahmar’s forces attack villagers in Hout, Amran

Filed under: Amran, Civil Unrest, Religious, Saada War, Tribes, War Crimes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 10:04 am on Friday, September 10, 2010

(Update: Now its a war of threats.)

This is one version of the story but the town is still under siege. Armed tribal mercenaries under the command of Sheikh Hussein Al-Ahmar attacked Hashimite families in the town of Hooth, Amran, two weeks ago. The villagers were Hasimites, not Houthi supporters, giving rise to the charge of ethnic cleansing.

On Saturday August 21st, a tribal mercenary of the Hashid murdered an unarmed Hashemite youth, Mohammed Zaid Al-Hoothi, in Hooth. The murderer had brother who was killed in the sixth war in Sa’adah. The murderer escaped to Hussain Al-Ahmar’s house in Hooth. The Hoothi family asked Hussain to submit the murderer to justice. Hussain refused and sent two messengers to the Hoothi family telling them that they can not ask that because their son was in Sa’adah and thus not entitled to redress if he is killed. (His blood has no value in the tribal concepts). The Hoothi family said to the messengers that they do not accept that and they consider it an insult.

The Hoothi family buried the body Sunday evening. When receiving the guests, as all the Yemenis do, some tribal mercenaries started attacking them under the pretense that it was Hussain al Ahmar’s tribal committee searching for weapons in the Hashemite houses. Some clashes broke out Sunday evening at one house the al Ahmar loyalists. By Monday morning, thousands were attacking the city; bombing, shooting. About 80 people were kidnapped and remain in al Ahmar’s tribal prison as well as some state prisons. The Yemeni army cut Sana’a-to-Sa’adah road and a siege is in place around Hooth. As we know, the Saudis are unhappy with the Doha agreement and Hussain is financed by the Saudis.

al Wasat: يسود منطقة حوث التابعة لمحافظة عمران توتر حاد منذ مطلع الأسبوع الجاري إثر اندلاع مواجهات بين قبائل العصيمات وأبناء منطقة حوث والتي أسفرت عن مقتل وجرح العشرات من الطرفين في ظل غياب أي دور للسلطات في احتواء الموقف المتصاعد. Region there is Hot in the province of Amran tension sharply since early this week following the outbreak of clashes between tribes living in a region Alasemat Hot, which resulted in the killing and injury of dozens of parties in the absence of any role for the authorities to contain the escalating situation. ولاتزال قبائل العصيمات المسلحة تفرض حصاراً على منطقة حوث التابعة لها في حين احتجزت ما يقارب 67 مواطناً من المنتمين للمذهب الهاشمي. The tribes still Alasemat armed siege on the area’s Hot in when they detained about 67 citizens of belonging to the doctrine of Hashemi. وبدأ انفجار الأحداث على خلفية مقتل محمد مطهر زيد الحوثي من أبناء حوث قبل ثلاثة (Read on …)

President Saleh urges clerics to fight Al Qaeda?

Filed under: Counter-terror, Presidency, Religious — by Jane Novak at 8:56 am on Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Who al Zindani? al Masiri? the same clerics who threatened jihad against the US? the head of Dammaj, al Hajouri? President Saleh is the main purveyor of the al Qaeda ideology when he calls the Houthis and the Southerns apostates, and when the Defense Ministry issues fatwas that Houthi blood is free.

President Saleh urges clerics to fight Al Qaeda
Source: Xinhua , 07/09/2010 via NAB: SANAA-Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh on Monday urged religious clerics to take part in fighting al- Qaida’s ideology after the terrorist group intensified deadly attacks in east and south of the country, state news agency Saba reported.

In an address at a mosque, President Ali Abdullah Saleh called on religious clerics to play a role in combating al-Qaida’s ideology across the country’s mosques by counseling local people. (Read on …)

If you have to tie her to the bed, or drug her, then it is rape

Filed under: Children, Civil Rights, Hajjah, Religious, Women's Issues — by Jane Novak at 2:40 pm on Sunday, September 5, 2010

A ten year old has no capacity to consent.

al Jazeera: The International Centre for Research on Women (ICRW) found that just under half of all girls in Yemen are married before they are 18 – classified as underage by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Yemen is a signatory.

With no legal minimum age for marriage, a study by Sanaa University found that in some of Yemen’s regions half of all girls are married before the age of 15.

“The greatest problem facing Yemeni women today is child marriages,” said Wafa Ali of the Yemeni Women’s Union. “These early marriages rob the girl of the right to a normal childhood and education. The girls are forced to have children before their bodies are fully grown.”

Many girls suffer repeated miscarriages or end up with complications brought on by the trauma of forced sex, said Dr Arwa Elrabee, a leading gynaecologist.

In April a local women’s rights group reported that 12-year-old bride Elham Shuee had died three days after marrying a man in his 20s. The girl suffered a rupture of the womb caused by sex, said Majed al-Mathhaji, a spokesman for the Sisters Arab Forum.

Last September, another 12-year-old, Fawziya Abdullah Youssef, bled to death during three days of child birth – her body, doctors said afterwards, was simply too small to cope. (Read on …)

Naba News and the National Security Launch Attack on Salafis

Filed under: Counter-terror, Religious, Security Forces, TI: Internal, Yemen, state jihaddists — by Jane Novak at 1:01 pm on Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Its really a fascinating article at Naba news about the dangers of state sponsorship of Salafism and its penetration into society, but Yahya Saleh is more a liberal or perhaps modernist than Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar.

Aden Gulf: نبأ نيوز ( موقع الامن القومي اليمني ) يصف السلفيين بالفئة الضاله ويتهمهم بالإنتماء لإيدلوجية تنظيم القاعدة ويحذر من خطورة تحالف علي صالح معهم News News (site of the Yemeni National Security) describes the Salafi deviant group and accuses them of belonging to the ideology of al Qaeda, warns of the danger of a coalition in favor of them (Read on …)

Ayyam Zawaheri Wants to Be King of Yemen

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Religious, TI: External, USA, aq statements — by Jane Novak at 11:42 am on Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Oh yes, that’s what Yemenis need is another foreigner inciting bloodshed. The lunatic Egyptian wants Yemeni clerics to declare jihad on the US. Certainly strengthens Saleh’s position with the US though, how handy.

Reuters: Zawahri, in his second message this month released on Islamist websites, also ridiculed Yemeni clerics, who he said promised jihad, or holy war, against the United States if it interfered in Yemen, but who he said ignored signs that the government was cooperating with U.S. forces.

Noting that Amnesty International had called on Washington to explain its role in Yemen, Zawahri asked: “Is Amnesty International more concerned about defending the Yemeni people than they (the clerics) are?”

Amnesty International released a report in June suggesting that the United States may be playing a role in Yemen after releasing photographs that showed remnants of alleged U.S. missiles and cluster bombs used in an attack in south Yemen.

“What more are they waiting for to call for jihad? … are they waiting for the U.S. soldiers to appear on the streets of Sanaa in their tanks?”

Al-Qa’ida distributes CD’s in Sana’a Mosques calling for jihad on U.S.

Filed under: Religious, Sana'a, USA, aq statements, state jihaddists — by Jane Novak at 10:48 pm on Thursday, June 24, 2010

Really getting desperate, aren’t they? I guess the Saudi women didn’t come flocking to Yemen after al-Qa’ida’s last appeal to them for suicide bombers. Short of funds they are as well. Interesting how AQIY can distribute the CDs in such a systematic manner without drawing the attention of the state-funded Imams and security. Oh yes, it was actually the state funded Imams who first warned against US intervention in Yemen, threatening jihad in a statement. Yeah that was it. The AQIY zealots are hoping that US backing of the widely reviled dictator and his messy messy methods of counter-insurgency will create a backlash in their favor, not an improbable outcome even without the CDs, but there are a lot of other options for those with anti-government inclinations. Anti-US sentiments grew geometrically after the slaughter in Abyan (cluster bombs??!!) and the US’s extremely poor follow-up. (Nary a word. Even after the Yemeni government apologized, the US kept congratulating.) Inciting against US intervention incidentally and conveniently dovetails with Saleh’s position. This Abdulelah mentioned works for (gets a paycheck from) the state news agency SABA and is the brother-in-law of Abdulmajid al-Zindani, a long time Saleh loyalist. Abdulelah is the one who manages to interview all the top al-Qa’ida (including his bestest friend Anwar Awlaki, Nassir al Wahishi and Fahd “but I thought he was reformed” al-Quso) without a problem as we noted first in January 2009. We’ll file this about the CDs under the heading “flaky stuff”.

Yemen Post An unidentified group has distributed a CD at a number of mosques in Yemen’s capital of Sana’a that some people said contained interviews with Al-Qaeda leaders and videos about U.S. raids on terrorist targets in the country, independent sources said on Thursday.

Uthman Al-Ghamidi, Fahd Al-Qusa, Abu Musab Muhammad Saleh Umair and Saeed Al-Shari, all of the most wanted terrorist suspects by Yemeni and Saudi authorities, appeared in the CD speaking about U.S. crimes and calling for reviving Jihad, holy war.

They talked about terror raids that took place in late last year and early this year in Abyan, Shabwa and Sana’a with a focus on the raid in Almajalah district, Abyan, in which many were killed including civilians. Murdered terrorist Abu Umair was seen discussing Jihad with young Jihadists.

Abdul Elah Shaea, a local expert in terrorism issues, also appeared speaking about Al-Qaeda in Yemen including remarks he previously gave to Aljazeera Satellite Channel.

The CD was intended to incite the people against the U.S. intervention as concerns, mainly by the west, continued to grow about Al-Qaeda presence in the country and to praise the role of Al-Qaeda and its acts.

It also contained photos of some Arab leaders described as agents for the west including Egypt’s Mubarak and President Saleh.

Policeman Tries to Cut Jewish Man’s Hair

Filed under: Religious, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:50 am on Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Its just so much worse when its the police: Yemen Observer

Heron Bin Salem, 22, a member of the Jewish community, was awaiting his cousin in front of al-Mustakbal School when an officer along with four security members approached him, “trying to get rid of his unfamiliar look,” Yahya Yousif, the head of the Jewish community in Sana’a told Yemen Observer. (Read on …)

Regime Busses Civil Servants, Students to Pro-Govt Rally

Filed under: Employment, GPC, Presidency, Religious — by Jane Novak at 5:52 am on Monday, April 26, 2010

Its like a pro-government rally in North Korea or Cuba but the adoring crowds are less synchronized and color coordinated. Yemen Post

Thousands of Yemeni people, students and state employees gathered on Saturday at the Al-Thawra Stadium for the carnival called and organized by the General People’s Congress, the ruling party, the National Coalition Parties and civil society organizations within the celebrities on the 20th anniversary of unification. (Read on …)

Preacher tries to prevent slaughter, arrested

Filed under: Religious, South Yemen, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:43 pm on Friday, April 23, 2010

The Yemeni military has bombed mosques and engaged in other acts of irreverence. In this case, police wanted to shoot protesters from the roof.

Sahwa Net – Three people were injured on Thursday during confrontations between security forces and precipitants of a funeral possession of a person who was killed by security men during prior protests.

Meanwhile, security forces arrested a mosque Imam Adel al-Jaadi as he refused to allow soldiers to up on the roof of the mosque and shoot fire on protestors. Al-Jaadi explained in a statement to Sahwa Net that the mosque was boycotted (surrounded?) by soldiers who centered on the mosque ground, so the women could not perform prayers inside the mosque.

The Marriage of the Small Girls by Ms. Tawakkol Abdul Salam Karman

Filed under: Children, Civil Rights, Religious, Women's Issues — by Jane Novak at 7:36 pm on Friday, April 23, 2010

Quite a logical manifesto by one of Yemen’s leading female activists

Marriage of the Small Girls, and the Absence of Religious Renewal and Reform

By / Tawakkol Abdul Salam Karman*

In our jurisprudence heritage there is a wide place for harmony and compatibility with the claims of banning the marriage of small girls and determining the age of eighteen as a minimum for marriage for girls, and this is exactly what is deemed by the Maliki school.. It is exactly what was transformed by Ibn Abbas, whom he said 23 years old, and 25 said by others, and who knows maybe there is space for what is higher.

In light of the broad claims by engaging the need to complete the process of religious reform and renewal, it is painful that we find that the horizon is narrower than the eye of a needle; since it was supposed to accomplish many of jurisprudence that achieve urgent requirements of the times .. and provide evidence that Islam is valid for all times and places. They are glued deep in the heritage and are looking for fatwas that are closer to the shackles and handcuffs which ,in the best situations, are no longer valid since hundreds of years.

The following day to the protest of Aleeman University in front of the Yemeni parliament opposed to enact a law forbids marriage of small girls, it was quoted by the news that ((a handicapped girl had been raped by several persons)), unless they will not hear in the future that there is a similar demonstration will emerge to claim the application of the punishments of God in the perpetrators, so I will claim from now, that the law of God has nothing to do with all this drivel, and what is required is a show of force and political presence, which is closer to the bad exploitation of religion for instantaneous political purposes.

* Anomaly and the psychological deviation (Read on …)

Marital Rape a Violation of Islamic Law: Yemeni Scholar

Filed under: Children, Civil Rights, Religious, Women's Issues — by Jane Novak at 10:04 am on Saturday, April 17, 2010

Update: the opposing view

LAT Sheik Mohammed Hamzi, an official of the Islamist Yemeni opposition party Islaah and the imam of the Al-Rahman mosque in the Yemeni capital of Sana, is one of those who staunchly opposes a legal ban on child marriage… “I am against the child marriage law because it restrains the freedom of others. When a certain age [for marriage] is set, it violates the rights of others. For example, imagine a young man of 13 or 14 years of age who wants to have sex. … This is a violation of his rights,” Sheik Hamzi told The Times in an interview at his Sana home last week.

Wow, how warped is that thinking? Boys have a right to have sex whenever they have the urge, but girls do not have the right not to be raped. On to the original post, an article published by the Yemen Times:

There is no law in Yemeni legislation that defines a minimum age for marriage. However, there are Islamic legislations that prevent men from forcing their wives into intercourse. Renowned religious scholar Mohammed Hassan said that the Islamic Jurisprudence prohibits forced intercourse between the husband and wife.

“If a woman is forced to bed by her husband, she should know that he is committing a sin and should be punished according the jurisprudence. She should not think that Islam discriminates against women, it is the sole act of this man,” he said.

He emphasized that, in Islam, marriage is a relationship based on kindness and empathy as read in the Roman’s Chapter in the Quran verse 21: “And among His signs is that He created spouses for you from yourselves for you to gain rest from them, and kept love and mercy between yourselves; indeed in this are signs for the people who ponder.”

“The essence of the marital relationship is passion and the husband should make his wife feel that he wants more than just her body for early pleasure but also her companionship and emotions, and so should the wife. Aggressiveness and violence in the bedroom is not acceptable in Islam,” he added.

The Prophet Mohammed (MPBH) had said: “Do not fall onto your wife like an animal, and have a messenger between the two of you.” He was asked: “What is this messenger?” He replied: “The kiss and the conversation.”

Al-Haq Party Denounces the Minstry of Endowments Bias against Zaidism

Filed under: PFU, Religious, Saada War, Sana'a, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:31 pm on Saturday, March 13, 2010

News Yemen

The right party condemns the targeting of the Great Mosque in Sana’a, and holds the Minister of Awqaf the responsibility of creating sectarian conflicts (Read on …)

Dammaj Students Only Training with Light Arms

Filed under: Dammaj, Religious, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 6:12 pm on Monday, January 25, 2010

School authorities deny charges of terror training leveled in the German press. Yemen Times

SANA’A, JAN. 20 ­— A Yemeni Salafi sheikh has refuted allegations made by the German press that the Dar Al-Hadeeth Center for Islamic Studies in Sa’ada is encouraging terrorism. (Read on …)

Saleh Threatens to Declare Jihad on US

Filed under: Presidency, Religious, UK, USA — by Jane Novak at 9:15 am on Thursday, January 14, 2010

Yemeni President Saleh is quite adroit at playing the terror card. Today he warns the US that he will declare jihad if the US attempts any military action against al Qaeda in Yemen, in a statement from Yemen’s Council of Clerics. Its Saleh talking. There’s no way they would issue that without Presidental approval.

The message is simple: Just. Give. Me. The. Money.

Saleh has various mouthpieces: the government media, officials, GONGOs (governmental non-govermental organizations) some “experts” and Sheik Abdulmagid al Zindani (oh! scary!), who is classified by the UN’s 1267 committee as a terrorist financier. Al Zindani endorsed President Saleh’s 2006 “re-election” bid, and Saleh made his first speech of the electoral season from al Zindani’s al Iman University. The Minister of Endowments is Judge Hamoud al Hittar, who ran the now defunct dialog program that released hundreds of al Qaeda. (He never dialoged with the Houthi rebels though.)

Al Hittar is often an intermediary between the regime and al Qaeda. For example in 2003 al Qaeda offered Yemen a truce, and al Hittar was in charge of negotiations. At the time he said some demands were non-starters, meaning perhaps others were workable. That marked the beginning of what al Qaeda calls the (quite productive) “quietness period” from 2003-2006 when the group provided logistical support and thousands of jihaddists to various hotspots around the world, especially Iraq.

To follow is the clerics’ statement. Also below the fold is Foreign Minister al Qirby’s nearly identical statement that US counter-terror aid must be unconditional. The upcoming London Conference on Yemen should not attempt to deal with internal affairs like civil rights, political reforms, press freedom, corruption or economic transparency, he said, repeatedly.

Update: Alert Net: Yemen, facing a daunting array of security and economic problems, needs about $2 billion a year in aid to stay afloat and double that to turn its economy around, Foreign Minister Abubakr al-Qirbi said on Thursday…”I am not an economist, but I think one is talking about probably $4 billion a year,” Qirbi told Reuters when asked how much aid was required to rescue an economy struggling with a sharply rising population and falling oil revenues. (Read on …)

Two Students at Dar al Hadeth Islamic Institute, Dammaj Killed in Weapons Training Incident

Filed under: Religious, Saada War, state jihaddists — by Jane Novak at 7:16 am on Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The shooter was a British student. Al Hadath is the site (listed as govt affiliated, not Houthi) that published the following, and this may be the direct link to the article:

The death of two students in training camps Dammaj Salafi Saada

تاريخ النشر: 2009-10-12 Date Published: 2009-10-12

لقي اثنين من الطلاب الدارسين بدار الحديث بصعدة مصرعهم صباح اليوم الاثنين على يد زميلا لهم يدرس في الدار . Least two of the students studying modern Dar Saada died early Monday morning at the hands of their colleagues studying in the home.

وأكدت مصادر مطلعة أن الطالبان قتلا برصاص زميلهما أثناء عمليات التدريب على استخدام الأسلحة المتوسطة والقنص في دار الحديث التابع لجماعة الوهابيين بمنطقه دماج . Well-informed sources that the Taliban were shot dead by colleague during training in the use of medium weapons and hunting in the modern home of the Wahhabi group Dammaj area. (Read on …)

Ethnic Cleansing in Yemen?

Filed under: Religious, Saada War, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 1:05 am on Saturday, October 10, 2009

Update: After several discussions with kind readers, the blog does go out on several feeds after all, apparently what Mr. Zaid said was, “Hashimites are treated like foreigners,” which makes much more sense. In terms of targeting, its the Zaidi Hashimites (as opposed to Sahaifee Hashimites) who are subjected to arbitrary arrest, religious persecution, economic sanctions (getting fired) and institutionalized discrimination. Zaidi is a sect and Hashemi is a race. In 1962, Zaidis overthrew the Hashimite Imamate. There are many Zaidis in high positions obviously. I thought that might have been a mis-translation. But this again shows the problem of the entire JMP being unable to issue a press release in English. If they want to be quoted correctly in Englilsh, they should do their own translations. Nonetheless, the Yemen Tribune is a good new site in English.

SANAA, 06 Oct — Head of the opposition coalition, the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP), Hassan Zaid Monday said “the war in Sadaa is initiated to obliterate the Zaydi ideology from Yemen and replace it with the Suni ideology,” adding “the war in Sadaa began when the state insulted the Zaydis and Hashemites, kicked them out of their jobs, and took over their mosques,” stressing “what is happening in Yemen is a war on behalf of other states.” Zaid who was talking to Aylaf online magazine said “Zaydis in Yemen are treated as if they were foreigners or agents and as if they have no right to life and liberty.” Head of the state-sponsored committee of Fatwa and Science, Dr. Aqil al-Magtarri rejected Zaid’s statements saying “the door is wide-open in Yemen for all sorts of religious sects and ideologies,” adding “contrary to what Zaid claimed, sensitive posts in the state are occupied by Zaydis,” but “those people have their own ambitions and like Jews, they forge the truth. Their books and tapes are full of ideologies and doctrines that are contrary to the Zaydi creed.” He said “Zaid and his alike want to internationalize the issue in northern Yemen and want foreign powers to intervene in the country under the pretext of ethnic cleansing.”

Takfirism, lets kill everybody who disagrees

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Religious, Saudi Arabia, prince — by Jane Novak at 12:51 am on Thursday, September 3, 2009

Aha, getting to the actual roots of the issue, Takfir and the legitimizing of others deaths based on doctrinal disagreements. AFP follows up on the assassination attempt on Prince Naif.

“We need to restructure Islamic teaching at schools,” said Hezam, arguing that the fight has been confined to the security front and did not address the real threat.

Another Saudi analyst, who did not wish to be named, said the “roots of the problem have so far not been addressed,” insisting that the Takfiri discourse, which accuses opponents of being apostates, continues to flourish in Saudi Arabia.

“People who promote Takfiri thoughts are not held accountable unless they start to form a danger to the government,” he told AFP. “There has not been a serious strategy to combat this ideology.”

Khsheiban argued that AL-Qaeda ideology in Saudi Arabia should be tackled by allowing more space for moderates.

“The best way to combat the extremist ideology is not just through military confrontation, but also through strengthening the moderate discourse… It is there, but it needs the support of society and the state,” he said.

“The open religious discourse in Saudi Arabia is moderate, but the danger is in the extremist discourse… This creates extremist elements and nourishes terrorism,” he added.

But hope of seeing a change appears dim, said Hezam.

“Nothing will change in Saudi Arabia in the next 30 years. Even if change (strategy) starts right now, it would take at least 15 years to start seeing results,” he said.

Al Houthi Ideology Reformist or Revolutionary?

Filed under: Religious, Saada War, USA, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 5:14 pm on Friday, August 28, 2009

This is an interesting article, Yemen’s last Zaiydi Iman, self billed as

Excerpted from the manuscript of a forthcoming book project, this article provides essential English-language source material on Husayn Badr al-Dīn al-huthī and an alternative framework to that of the mainstream media for exploring what are likely the genuine causes and nature of the wars against Sadah, Yemen, undertaken with backing and technical assistance from the United States, if not direct complicity in the name of then President George W. Bush’s administration’s ‘war on terror’.

The article is important because it adds something to the discussion (in English) that was not there before, which is a depth of knowlege of Zaidi and al Houthis doctrines. The historical documentation of the development of the Houthi ideology is quite detailed, although the final conclusions are debatable.

However, that being said, the section that postulates the US ordered the Sa’ada Wars is unsubstantiated. The author points to the US’s seeming lack of interest in the Sa’ada Wars, the Joint Coalition Task Force’s base in Dijabouti and Yemen’s rising balance of payments as proof of the invisable hand of the US , but other factors like the historical increase in oil prices during the period in question is not part of the calculus. (Read on …)

Baharain and the Sa’ada War

Filed under: Diplomacy, Donors, UN, GCC, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Other Countries, Religious, Saada War, Saudi Arabia, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 12:16 pm on Thursday, August 27, 2009

IN 2005, the Saleh regime accused Shiite individuals in Bahrain along with Kuwait with supporting the rebels. Later, during the next round, they accused Libya (which had some truth) and Iran. Qatar mediated the last official cease fire. Saudi Arabia has serious concerns of course, and Egypt is willing to act as a mediator currently. Iraqi MP’s said Iraq should host the rebels headquarters in retaliation for Yemen hosting wanted Iraqi Baathists. The US and some western allies are worried that the war is a distraction from Yemeni efforts against al Qaeda. Currently Iran and Yemen are having a media war over the Iranian media coverage of the war.

To the extent the Saleh regime keeps calling the rebels “Satanic”, as it has for years, and imposing sectarian overtones on a essentially political conflict, Sana’a risks stimulating ever wider fractures both in Yemeni society and the region.

the Media Line: Deadly clashes in Yemen between government forces and a radical Shi’ite group are fueling tensions throughout the Gulf region.

A member of the Bahraini ruling Sunni coalition is accusing Al-Wefaq, the largest opposition Shi’ite party, of supporting the Al-Houthi rebels in northern Yemen.

MP Sheikh Jassem A-Sa’idi, an independent MP from the coalition bloc, talked of “suspicious movements” Al-Wefaq was making towards the Al-Houthi rebels. A-Sa’idi argued overtures to the Al-Houthis could have a “dangerous” impact on official relations between Bahrain and Yemen.

“I have proof to confirm that prominent Al-Houthi figures from the highest ranks visited Bahrain and met exclusively with MPs from Al-Wefaq,” A-Sa’idi told the London-based A-Sharq Al-Awsat, added that the political meeting had preceded the latest round of fighting which began on August 11.

“This is a big lie,” MP Jalal Fairooz, from the Al-Wefaq party told The Media Line. “[A-Sa’idi] is very well known in Bahrain for explosive words which are groundless and have no reality.”

Egypt willing to mediate… from al Sahwa

Egypt and other Arab states would intervene to end the conflict between the Yemeni government and al-Houthi rebels in Saada, high-profile sources have revealed.

The sources disclosed that al-Houthi rebels demanded the Arab League to visit Saada, but the league refused the request and confirmed that the Yemeni government has the decision on this issue.

Press Reports of Dammaj Students Fighting Houthis (Again) Disputed by Abdul Malik al Houthi

Filed under: Education, Religious, Saada War, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 10:49 am on Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Yemen Post among other media reports that the Houthi rebels are fighting Salafi groups in Dammaj, headquarters of the Dar al Hadeith network of schools, the Ivy League of hardcore Salafi institutes. The YP reports 16 dead.

In late April 2007, a firefight occured between rebels and the students of the Dammaj school which left one French student dead. The school at that time insisted that they were well protected by the government and not fighting the rebels.

Remarking on the current incident, Abdelmalik al Houthi insists the reporting is untrue propaganda intended to stoke sectarian tensions and frame the war in religious terms, which apparently as he sees it, it is not.

Yemen, Sa’da, 26/8/2009

There is no truth of what has appeared in some media reports of clashes in Sa’ada city between us and Salafis, and this is not true, but is an attempt which are in the attempts from some quarters to make it as a doctrinal conflict.

Press Office of Al-Sayed. / Abdul-Malik Badr al-Din

The Yemeni government insists that the goal of the rebels is to re-institute the Imamate, but the rebels’ terms of cease-fire are centered on military disengagement, some political empowerment within the central government, areas of autonomy and religious freedom.

Also included is the never ending refrain for prisoner releases- which the government promised in every mediated agreement since 2005. The families of the Sa’ada detainees have been sitting-in for about a year now, and I have a copy of Saleh’s directive ordering their release. Maybe the hundreds of prisoners died in jail and no one has the courage to admit it. Maybe they were tortured and their release would provoke an uproar. Maybe Saleh doesn’t have the authority to effect their release. But the continuity of this issue for years points to a greater disfunction or at least the failure to negotiate in good faith.

As we know the government appointed fact-finding committee found that the government failed to implement its part of the 2006 bargain, leading to the resumption of hostilities in 2007. And the committee members were promptly jailed.

A large part of the residual nature of the conflict harkens back to the Yemeni military’s lack of qualified and unified command and control, not just the soldiers harrassing the women in the markets, but also the inclusion of tribal militias. The Yemeni military/security is a series of conflicting fiefdoms which accounts in part for the failure at border control and in combating smuggling, for the shooting of the southern protesters and the deals with al Qaeda.

Marib Press also reported on the fighting: (Read on …)

Sheik Bawazir, Hadramout and the Tarim Cell

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Hadramout, Religious, attacks — by Jane Novak at 10:36 pm on Thursday, July 30, 2009

YEMEN- Omer Salim Bawazir (AbuAlharith), 37, is among the handful of Hadramout’s scholars who has dialogued with some of the homegrown terrorists. Raised and educated in Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Bawazir proudly states that he was a student of prominent Saudi scholars like Bin Authaimian and Al-Jabreen. He is an imam of AlKhair mosque in Mukalla and the head of Rawabi Al-Khair for Development. (Read on …)

Saudi Influence Contributes to the Talibanization of Yemen

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Religious, Saudi Arabia — by Jane Novak at 9:53 pm on Thursday, July 30, 2009

Yes thats true.

Reuters: Hassan Abu Taleb of the Al Ahram Centre for Strategic and Political Studies in Cairo said that despite Saudi fears, its puritanical brand of Sunni Islam had played a key role in creating a fertile environment for al Qaeda in Yemen.

“Over the last 20 years Yemen has been a launchpad for al Qaeda elements and some tribes in the centre of the country have blood and close links with al Qaeda elements,” he said.

“Yemeni judges now go to Saudi Arabia for training and come back filled with Wahhabi thoughts,” he added, referring to the austere Saudi school of Islam.

Boucek also said that though there was no unified Saudi policy to boost Sunni fundamentalism — known as Salafism — in its southern neighbour, Saudi Arabia played a role.

“The importation of Salafi extremists, funding of scientific institutes, return of Yemenis from Saudi, and the radicalisation process going on in younger Yemenis have all been problematic and have changed the ideological environment,” he said.

Christians Denied Funerals In Yemen

Filed under: Refugees, Religious, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 11:29 pm on Sunday, July 26, 2009

As bad as some of the discrimination is for certain classes of Yemenis, Christians are certainly dhimmis. Article from Orato

Millions of Ethiopian Christian immigrants are living under difficult social, cultural and economic conditions in Yemen.

Famine, starvation, unemployment, torture, abuse, and lack of freedom and democracy in their birth country force them to migrate to Yemen, one of the poorest countries in the world. In order to survive, a Christian in Yemen has to convert to Islam or be alienated.

The consequences of not converting can be felt in both life — and death. If an Ethiopian Christian maintains their religion, after death the Yemeni government will not permit them to be buried in Sana’a. The deceased’s name has to be changed (for a fee) to an Islam name by a known Muslim Ethiopian who has good contact with Yemeni officials. (Read on …)

More on the Chinese Massage Parlors in Sana’a

Filed under: China, Crime, Parliament, Religious, Women's Issues, Yemen, Yemen-Corruption, smuggling — by Jane Novak at 11:17 pm on Sunday, July 26, 2009

The relationship between Yemen and China is quite strong and well established. Yemen balances its external relations in a similiar manner to its internal affairs. Yemen’s alliance with the US is offset by its relation with China, Russia, Iran, even Cuba. Yemen supports the Chinese position on Taiwan, and China never pressures Yemen on Human Rights issues, of course. First up, we have Yemen quite understanding of the Chinese crackdown on the Uighur’s and insisting its some conspiracy, which is the standard line for the Yemeni government regarding civil unrest in Yemen.

CNN: The July 5 riot in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region is an internal affair of China, the Yemeni ambassador to China said on Wednesday. Yemen supports China’s efforts to defend its national sovereignty, to safeguard its social stability, and the people’s security and property, Abdulmalek Mualemi said in a written interview with Xinhua.

The riot in Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang region, left 197 people dead and more than 1,680 injured….

“Considering the grave loss of lives and property caused by the violence, we believe the incident did not happen spontaneously as some people have claimed, instead, it was premeditated and organized,” he said.

AQAP may target Chinese interests in Yemen- report.

Bloomberg: Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb said it will target the 50,000 Chinese workers in Algeria and Chinese nationals and projects across northwestern Africa, said Stirling Assynt, which has offices in London and Hong Kong….“Some of these individuals have been actively seeking information on China’s interests in the Muslim world which they could use for targeting purposes,” Stirling Assynt said, adding locations included North Africa, Sudan, Pakistan and Yemen. Other militant groups may make similar threats and al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula “could well target Chinese projects in Yemen,” according to the report.

More from Yemen Observer and al Sahwa.

Next: Chinese investment in Yemen, the overt kind. China needs to secure energy supplies and is one of Yemen’s main trading partners.

July 14 (Saba) – Yemen and the Chinese Commercial Vessel Building Company reviewed on Tuesday benefits and investment opportunities provided to investors in Aden Free Zone (AFZ).

Vice-chairman of the General Authority for Free Zones, and Head of the AFZ Abdul-Jalil al-Shuaibi re-invited, during his meeting with deputy general director of the company, Chinese investors to invest in Yemen, especially in establishing a factory for Chinese cars in the country.

Finally the Chinese massage parlors in Sana’a targeted by the Virtue and Vice Commission. The Chinese girls trafficked to Yemen as sex slaves were left crying on the street.

Al Arabyia: Yemeni religious police were out in force Tuesday in a major crackdown that saw many massage parlors and Chinese restaurants in the capital Sanaa shut down for allegedly promoting prostitution and vice.

The Yemeni religious police, modeled after Saudi Arabia’s Committee for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, targeted popular tourist areas in Sanaa.

Authorities dragged Chinese women working in several spas and restaurants to the streets and sealed the businesses after posting a sign reading “closed by the authorities,” an eyewitness told Al Arabiya.

The number of Chinese restaurants and spas in the capital has increased significantly in the capital despite the fact that none of them have a legal work permits or Ministry of Health authorization, said an official who supervised the clampdown but spoke on condition of anonymity. (Read on …)

10 Killed In Clashes Over Control Of Yemen Mosque

Filed under: Islah, Religious, Saada War, YSP, land disputes — by Jane Novak at 3:32 pm on Monday, July 20, 2009

The Sa’ada War didn’t start as a sectarian conflict but a political one. The concern here is the clashes were in Al Jawf. There’s infiltration into Hajjah and Amran also, the Yemen Post points out in a detailed article.

SANA’A, Yemen (AFP) –Ten people have been killed in clashes over control of a north Yemen mosque between Shiite Zaidi rebels and militants from the country’s main Sunni opposition party, both groups said Monday. (Read on …)

Zindani Mobilizes al Hikma Grads Against Southerners

Filed under: Civil Rights, Islah, Religious, South Yemen, personalities — by Jane Novak at 12:10 pm on Friday, July 17, 2009

Deviants he calls them…

Al Motamar

Al-Zandani calls for clear stabs towards calls for apostasy
Wednesday, 08-July-2009
Almotamar.net – Sheikh Abdulmajid al-Zandani called Wednesday on those reciting the Holy Koran to translate it on the ground. In a ceremony honouring 550 persons finishing a course in Koran recitation held by Al-Hikma al Yamania Society in Yemen this morning, al-Zandani said the entire nation is in need of competing the structure through learning Islamic sciences. He clarified the reality of the Yemeni nation is divided into two realities; an honourable reality and a deviant reality. The deviant reality calls for colonization of Yemen and calls on world countries to “invade us and impose guardianship on us.” He asked was not what happened to Iraq because of some deluded ones who called long time in Iraq, questioning what the result was after occupation. One million martyrs and two million wounded. (Read on …)

Yemen Libyan Endowment Ministries to Coordinate

Filed under: Diplomacy, Libya, Religious — by Jane Novak at 8:54 am on Friday, July 3, 2009

So if Iranian ships are docking in Yemen and all is honky dory with Gaddafi, then the slew of accusations and allegations of Iranian and Libyan support of the Houthi rebels likely was just more bizarre spin and propaganda.

Yemen, Libya to strike deal (Read on …)

Salafi Scholar al Maqtari Interview

Filed under: Religious — by Jane Novak at 8:40 am on Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Interview from the Yemen Times

Yemen Times

Sheikh Aqeel Bin Mohammed Bin Zaid Al-Maqtari, 50, is one of the prominent Salafia scholars in Yemen. He was taught by many religious scholars on top of whom was Sheikh Abu Abdul Rahman Muqbel Al-Wadi’ee who taught him Hadith(the Prophet’s sayings) for over six years In Sa’ada. In 1989, he attained his BA. In 2000, he finished his MA in Hadith at the Al-Wataneya University and in 2008, he attained PHD in Hadith from Universal African University in Sudan. (Read on …)

Interview with Salafi Sheik al Duba’ai

Filed under: Presidency, Religious — by Jane Novak at 3:49 pm on Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Yemen Post

Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Duba’ai
Sulfi Religious Leader

*

Abdul Sallam Mohammed: Can the Sulfi Forum be considered as a step towards establishing a new political party?
Abdul Aziz Al-Duba’ai: We have never thought of establishing a political party, but political activities are not prohibited whether legally or in our Sharee’ah (Islamic law).

AM: Do you believe in the political work?
AD: The political work is part of our Sharee’ah; however, it should be practiced under certain restrictions.
(Read on …)

Armed Tribesmen Besieging Murdered Yemeni Rabbi’s Family after Ruling

Filed under: Religious, Security Forces, Trials, Tribes — by Jane Novak at 11:13 am on Sunday, June 21, 2009

Late last year, retired Yemeni Air Force pilot, Abdul-Aziz Al-Abdi., threatened the Jewish community in Amran to “convert or die”. Al-Abdi then shot a young Rabbi, Masha al-Nahari, father of nine, in broad daylight. The family’s home and the Jewish in general was threatened and pelted with stones, forcing children to withdraw from school. After a sustained effort by Yemeni civil society, especially the HOOD organization, al-Abdi was brought to trial, and sentenced to a fine. Representing the victim’s family, HOOD lawyer, Khaled al-Anesi called the verdict “a scandal”. Today upon appeal, the Yemeni court overturned the prior verdict and imposed the death penalty. Currently a crowd of armed tribesmen is besieging the court and threatening the family, lawyers and journalists.

HOOD: An armed tribal group ranging 20-25 is surrounding the court building after the announcement of the Amran Appellate court’s ruling today…HOOD has received a call from its lawyers, Masha’s defence team before court proceedings, asserting that “they are seized inside the court with some of other journalists and Masha’s family members by an armed tribesmen belong to the convicted al-Abdi. Subsequently, HOOD directs a statement to the Interior minister holding him accountable of protecting the safety of all people seized inside the court building.

Its not like the police are going to come or anything. The family, lawyers and journalists are trapped inside the courthouse.

Yemen to Establish Internet at 4000 Mosques

Filed under: A-INFRASTRUCTURE, Communications, Ministries, Religious, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:39 am on Saturday, June 20, 2009

As the government is shutting news sites and monitoring web cafes, it is also contracting for wireless internet in 4000 mosques.They want to attract youths. But I wonder why they didn’t start with the schools first? The Star

THE Yemen Government has engaged the services of a local company in Kulim, Kedah, to set up web portals and wireless lin-kage at 4,000 mosques in its country.

NFAB Holdings Services (M) Sdn Bhd’s proposal has been submitted to the Grand Mufti Council of Yemen and it has, in principle, agreed to implement it.

NFAB managing director Dr Nurul Faisal Abu Bakar said the programme could benefit the mosques in the northern African country as it could attract youths to participate in religious activities organised by its respective mosques. (Read on …)

Houthis Establish Religious Schools in Sa’ada

Filed under: Religious, Saada War — by Jane Novak at 7:08 am on Saturday, June 13, 2009

I wonder if the state of Yemen has any idea how hypocritical it is to deny religious schools to the Zaidis (who prefer a Hashimite leader, but will accept a just ruler) while allowing funding and encouraging some Salafi schools (who prefer a Caliphate and legitimize violence). No, I dont think they get it.

From the beginning of the Sa’ada War, one of the main grievances was the state’s assault on Zaidi religious schools and the sense of state sponsored forced conversion. And a basic tenet of Zaidism is the duty to oppose an unjust leader (in direct opposition to Salafism which requires obedience as long as the leader is Muslim). In 2002, the UN noted the teaching of Iman Ali Talb (the son in law of Mohammed) as moderate and containing the foundations for the Islamic legitimization of democracy. These are the books that were burned and the teachings banned. And no, Im not pro-Shiite (and also not a separatist) but I am in favor of religious equality and religious pluralism as a foundation of society. By the same token, the Houthis (who are getting more extreme as time goes on) shouldn’t force children to attend their schools. The following from the state media:

Al-Houthi seizes some schools in Yemen’s governorate of Saada
Saturday, 13-June-2009
Almotamar.net – A source at the local authority in Saada governorate, Yemen said on Saturday that Abdulmalik al-Houthi ordered his followers to take control of some schools in some districts of Saada, where they are present.

The source pointed out that the action was for using those schools for holding training courses promoting for the imamate thought for which he calls. Also, the aim is fill minds of some naïve persons that are deceived with these ossified ideas, in addition to holding woman training centres in Al-Khamrat and Al-talh areas and to show propaganda films.

The source told 26september.net website that al-Houthi aims by that provocative and sabotage step and others to step up the situation and push them towards tension so that to torpedo the efforts for peace establishment in the governorate and impede efforts of reconstruction.

The source added that al-Houthi also encouraged some of elements captured during commitment of riot acts to fabricate riot and chaos inside the prison in Saada in order to cause confrontation with the prison guards.

American Jihaddi Radicalized in Yemeni Jail

Filed under: Religious, USA, prisons — by Jane Novak at 6:04 pm on Thursday, June 4, 2009

Googled other sites. BTW how was the FBI supposed to free him from a Yemeni jail?

CBS: The man accused of killing a soldier outside a recruiting center begged for FBI agents to free him from a Yemeni jail where he was “tortured” and “radicalized” by Islamic terrorists, his lawyer told The Associated Press on Thursday.

Lawyer Jim Hensley described Abdulhakim Muhammad as an impressionable youth driven to public service in an impoverished Middle Eastern country. But teachings by “hardened” terrorists in Yemen and experiences with Afghan child refugees missing limbs drove him to become someone his parents didn’t recognize, Hensley said.

“Here comes the FBI, who may be able to help this guy or save his life, and then they leave and then he’s got to go back in with these hardened terrorists. He’s got to survive, how do you live with that?” Hensley said. “He absolutely feels that the FBI and anyone else associated with the United States government left him to the wolves, that’s for certain.” (Read on …)

American Islamic Convert Returned from Yemen Murders Soldier in AK

Filed under: Religious, USA — by Jane Novak at 8:09 am on Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Update: He sought to go to Dammaj to study with Hajoree. (The six Americans arrested in 2008 were coming from Saada to Sanaa when they were arrested but were supposed to go to Maber). He was arrested in Yemen for using a Somali passport.

Its a good idea to keep an eye on anyone who changes their name from Carlos to Mujahid.
The article would be more accurate if it said, “The suspect is a subscriber to the radical jihaddist ideology which advocates the murder of non-believers, converts and those who transgress their interpretation of Shaira law.”

Little Rock, AR – A man opens fire on two soldiers at a military recruiting office in little rock this morning, killing one and injuring the other. It happened outside the army navy career center on Rodney Parham just after 10 o’clock Monday morning.
The suspect is 23-year old Abdul hakim Mujahid Muhammad and is behind bars at the Pulaski County Jail. Police say it appears he targeted military members because of his political and religious beliefs. Authorities have told ABC News, Muhammed had just returned from Yemen and was already the subject of an FBI investigation.

How sad and telling.

ABC According to sources, the suspect advised them that he was going to kill as many Army personnel as possible. At the time of the shooting, the subject had approximately 200 rounds of ammunition available, police said.

According to a police report, Muhammad told police he saw two uniformed U.S. soldiers in front of the recruiting office before he shot and killed Pvt. William Long, 23, and wounded Pvt. Quinton Ezeagwula, 18, while they were taking a break outside the U.S. Army recruiting station where they both worked.

Thanks to all who sent this in.

Salafis Including al Zindani, al Hikma Org., and al Hittar Discuss Unity

Filed under: Religious, South Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:34 am on Wednesday, May 27, 2009

We all knew already that al Hittar, the Minister of Endowments and head of Yemen’s dialog program, is a hard core Salafi, yes? (Dialog with the Houthis was never an option.) The Wisdom and Charity org is al Hikma, (al Hekma depending on my mood), inconclusively linked to training and shipping fighters to Iraq (under the auspices of ye old “top military leaders”.)

So, predictably they determined that calls against Yemen’s unity are un-Islamic and protecting unity is an Islamic duty. Sounds rather fatwa-ish. Al Zindani who has some progressive tendencies called for a national conference and, while recognizing injustices, naturally framed the issue in terms of a foreign conspiracy.

Yemen Observer
Hundreds of Salafis headed by Shiekh Abdul-Majeed al-Zindani, Rector of al-Eman University and Judge Hamoud al-Hitar met in the first congregation of its kind to discuss the consequences of current events in Yemen, its unity, and future.

The meeting titled “Yemen’s unity and its current challenges” discussed the view of Shariah law which calls for unity among the nation. (Read on …)

Critics = Apostates: Saleh

Filed under: Religious, South Yemen — by Jane Novak at 2:05 pm on Monday, May 4, 2009

The concern with the situation in the South is that it is following the pattern of Sa’ada nearly exactly- ignoring the original grievences, targeting the media, mass arrests, bombing civilians, state takfirism, down playing the the crisis, accusing foreign parties and targeting the opposition abroad. While the Houthi rebels are not blameless by any means, the state’s actions flamed a small movement into a larger one, and the same has occurred thus far with the southern protests. I don’t see how the US can expect internal dialog to have a productive outcome. There was a standing agreement for two years to electoral reform, and nothing happened but mass propaganda.

The people would face apostate elements, preserve the revolution & unity: President
Almotamar.net, Saba – President Ali Abdullah Saleh said Monday what is occurring in some districts of the southern and eastern governorates does not cal for concern and all should be assured that matters are under control by cooperation of all the honest of the sons of the southern and eastern governorates. He said bit the media inflate the events and “We confirm that all the citizens are with the unity and would defend it.” (Read on …)

Zindani Fatwas Homeowner, 150 al Iman Students Burn it to the Ground

Filed under: Civil Rights, Religious, TI: Internal, personalities, state jihaddists — by Jane Novak at 8:02 am on Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Update: the Yemen Times has a whole other spin on the incident. The father is a rapist/murderer and the mother a prostitute, not that the charges justify mob rule.

Original: The fanatics killing people in Ja’ar were no anomoly. Salafis destroying satellite dishes in Tharmar and Hodeidah.

Yemen Post: People destroyed the three-storey house of a citizen who they accused of tearing and stepping on the holy book of Quran in Sana’a on Tuesday night.
Eyewitnesses said the man tore the Quran and treaded on it before citizens but the reason for the transgression has not been identified.
Some people in the area called the police and informed them about a person who insulted the Quran. (Read on …)

Jews in Yemen Target of Fanatics

Filed under: Civil Rights, Demographics, Religious, Yemen, other jihaddists — by Jane Novak at 8:00 am on Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Just one of the many targets though…

Bloomberg

April 20 (Bloomberg) — Yemen is in danger of losing what’s left of its Jewish community, which has called the country home for more than 2,500 years and provided its kings for a century.

Growing intimidation and violence are pushing the 300 Jews left in the Arabian Peninsula country to flee to Israel or the U.S. Four months ago, a Muslim extremist gunned down Jewish- studies teacher Moshe Yaish Nahari, a father of nine, in the town of Raida, north of the capital of Sana’a. (Read on …)

Saleh Said What?

Filed under: Counter-terror, Diplomacy, Iran, Libya, Presidency, Religious, Saada War, Yemen, gitmo   · — by Jane Novak at 12:04 pm on Sunday, April 5, 2009

Iran trys to make everyone a Shiite…

Saleh: Yemen achieved positive successes in chasing terrorists al Motamar
Saturday, 28-March-2009
Almotamar.net, Saba – President Ali Abdullah Saleh has expected the Arab summit, to be held on 29-30 March in Qatar’s capital, Doha, will go after previous summits without effective decisions, urging Arab leaders to put an end to their rift. (Read on …)

Yemen Outlaws Promoting Thought

Filed under: Ministries, Political Opposition, Religious, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 10:33 am on Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The new mosque law outlaws propagating thoughts that are contrary to Sharia. At the same time it outlaws inciting against any party, group or sect. The law was passed before the postponement of the elections, and was probably intended to make it difficult for Islah preachers to promote their candidates. I like the way they package it as reform. On a related note, Saudi Wahabbi preachers organized a training course with Yemeni preachers. Needless to say, the Saudis don’t have the best record for freedom of religion with their Shiite population either.

The law on Press and Publication outlaws written words based on the outcome they produce such as promoting sectarian or regional strife and undermining unity.

Government approves mosques’ law
SANA’A, March, 03 (Saba)- The government approved in its weekly meeting held on Tuesday mosques’ law and directed concerned officials to issue it.

The law aims at reviving the mosque belief, educational and guidance message and protecting the freedom of mosques, security and stability in them. It also aims at good management of mosques, building, maintaining them and equipping them for performing Islamic rituals.

The law seeks to enhance process of taking care of mosques and religious and historical monuments and protecting their cultural and civilized heritage. It also seeks to organize religious address and its role in serving the religion and the homeland, besides promoting performance of the workers in the mosques and improving their living conditions.

The 31 item of the draft law defines duties of preachers, guiders and all mosques’ workers. It stressed on their commitments to good call for worshiping God and makings mosques away of partisan conflicts.

While item 32 included prohibitions implemented on all mosques’ workers. These prohibitions are propagating to thoughts contradicting Islamic Share’a and its principles. Using mosques for propagating or inciting against any party, group or sect is also among prohibitions.

Masha’s Killer Fined

Filed under: Judicial, Religious, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 1:24 am on Tuesday, March 3, 2009

How unexpected. This case is really triggering a lot of frustration and many people are upset.

JPost

A Yemeni court ruled Monday that a Muslim on trial for killing a Yemeni Jew is mentally incompetent and merely ordered him to pay a fine for the fatal shooting.

The slaying of Jewish teacher Moshe Yaish Nahari last December in Omran, north of the capital, San’a, raised fears of anti-Semitic attacks across the country.

Monday’s ruling said the defendant – Abdel Aziz Yehia Hamoud al-Abdi, a retired pilot in the Yemeni air force – is “mentally unstable.” It ordered him to pay a fine of 50.5 million riyals, or about $250,000.

Lawyer Khaled al-Anisi representing the slain teacher says the court showed “prejudice” and warned the light ruling opened doors to attacks that could lead to the eviction of the Jewish community from Yemen.

A Yemeni Web site, newsyemen.net, quoted the local police chief, Ahmed Yahya al-Suraihi, as saying at the time that Abdi, 40, had confessed to the murder, saying he had killed Nahari “for the sake of Allah.”

The police chief was quoted as saying that Abdi told police he had sent a message to the Jews who live in the area that they must either embrace Islam, leave the country or be killed.

Nine Yemeni Jews Safe in Israel

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Civil Rights, Other Countries, Religious, political violence — by Jane Novak at 8:46 am on Friday, February 20, 2009

I posted the story of the murder of the Yemeni Rabbi at another website a while ago, and one of the commenters there said, “This is why there needs to be an Israel”. And its true. Where would they go to be safe otherwise? They used to be safe in Yemen, although assigned to Dhimmitude not equality, an irksome concept. But the rise in fanatacism makes Yemen a dangerous place for a lot of people now. There are fellow Yemenis trying to achieve justice and security for the Yemeni Jewish citizens, HOOD for example, but its quite an uphill battle. Another interesting part of this story is the clandestine airlift. Unnamed Yemeni government sources are saying it was via Eritrea, of course.

Ynet

For Sa’adia Ben-Yisrael in Yemen, the grenade thrown at his family’s home proved the final straw. Under the cover of secrecy, a group of ten Jews, nine of them members of the Ben-Yisrael family, left their Arab homeland for Israel.

Landing in Tel Aviv on Thursday afternoon, Sa’adia, his wife and their seven children seemed overwhelmed by the media attention that welcomed them to their new home. Also waiting for them were representatives from the Jewish Agency, which helped organize the clandestine airlift.

A prominent member of Yemen’s tiny Jewish sector, Sa’adi said ultra-Orthodox members of the anti-Zionist ‘Neturei Karta’ sect tried to convince him not to make aliyah. “But I’m very glad that I cam to the Holy Land, me and my family,” he said….

Ezra Tzubari, Ben-Yisrael’s cousin, said he hoped the family’s decision would encourage others to do the same. “To the people still there in Yemen who are even a little in danger – just come here and see this completely different world,” he said. There are currently 280 Jews remaining in Yemen. Most of them, nearly 230 people, reside in Raida. The rest are in Sanaa.

Trial Adjourned in the Murder of Yemeni Rabbi

Filed under: Civil Rights, Religious, Trials — by Jane Novak at 7:36 am on Friday, February 13, 2009

HOOD

The Amran Criminal Court adjourned the trial of Abdul-Aziz Al-Abdi who is accused in the murder of Masha al-Nahari, a Yemeni Jew. The trial will resume on February 16, 2008 when the court will hear final arguments and receive a medical report on al-Abdi. (Read on …)

Judge al Hittar’s Secret Prison in Yemen’s Endowment’s Ministry

Filed under: Religious, Yemen, gitmo, hostages, prisons — by Jane Novak at 9:30 am on Thursday, January 29, 2009

hittarsprison

Judge al Hittar is the Minister of Endowments in Yemen. He supposedly rose through the security ranks to become a judge and later began the religious dialog program in 2002, which in and of itself is a good idea. Judge al Hittar is a bit biased against Hashimites (shocker!) and thats why there was never any dialog with the Houthi rebels. In the dialog program with imprisoned al Qaeda operatives, al Hittar only discussed the non-acceptability of attacks within Yemen and going to Iraq for jihad was not actively discouraged. The program itself became an expedited release program, a charade of reform, and was discontinued in 2005. This is the guy who will be in charge of “rehabilitating” the Gitmo detainees. (In the 2006 escape, the 23 al Qaeda prisoners tunneled- with their spoons- to the ladies bathroom in a mosque where al Hittar preaches.)

The existance of a private prison is sad for a ministry that is supposed to be overseeing all things religious. Shame shame. However, private prisons are common. Powerful people have the authority to imrpison citizens without recourse, and Kudos to HOOD for taking a stand when a preacher was randomly thrown into this jail.

HOOD revealed a secret private prison inside the Endowment Minister facility after receiving a complaint from an ordinary person and then a team from HOOD lawyers went to follow up and pictured the prison.

Maher Mohammed Ismail Hebah, an orator and Immam of al-Ansar mosque, was apprehended yesterday “without knowing exactly his charges”, he said to HOOD lawyer Abdul-Rahman Barman.

News has come up before about private prison in the ministry, but was uncertain until it was realistically disclosed today, said Barman. “It is ironic that as you enter the building, ‘Smile, you are at the Endowment Ministry’ phrase caught an eye,” said Barman.

This prison is considered illegal because the ministry is not entitled to arrest anyone. “It is a crime to apprehend anyone without a judicial writ,” said Khaled al-Anesi, the executive Director of HOOD.

On other hand, the ministry imprisoned Hibah due to his apposing speech in his mosque aginst the ministry and the government, said Mohammed al-Hajj, the secretary of the Minister. He confirmed that there is no prison but detention for the problems that happen in the ministry. Al-Hajj said that the ministry has the right to arrest whoever create unrest. He added that the matter is simple, Hibah should bring a guarantor to get him released. Hibah is reported that he signed a statement that he committed to stopping talking in such manner.

HOOD sent a letter to the General Prosecution to visit the detention scene to close it and release Hibah. The team, who went to visit the place, is the lawyers: Mohammed al-Aroosi, Taha Farhan, Ahmed Arman and Abdul-Rahman Barman

Mosque Regulation in Yemen: Fact or Fiction

Filed under: Civil Rights, Counter-terror, Religious, Saada War, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:55 am on Thursday, January 29, 2009

Are they clamping down on the Hashemites again? What is packaged as mosque reform over the last years has pretty much been outlawing mention of Iman Ali Talib and taking over Zaidi mosques. Meanwhile Abdullah al-Reimi was preaching openly in a mosque in one of the governorates last year, ah, maybe 2007. The guy who murdered Jarallah Omar was the prison’s preacher until he was suddenly executed. There’s many examples. The government, including the courts, defends jihad and civilian murder abroad as long as it is within the confines of “legitimate resistance”. Every little bit helps, but there’s just so much propaganda that its impossible to have confidence in government announcements, especially with Judge al Hittar as Endowments Minister.

al Motamar:

New law regulating mosques work in Yemen
Wednesday, 28-January-2009
almotamar.net – The Yemeni government submitted Tuesday, in its meeting held under chairmanship of Prime Minister Dr Ali Mohammed Mujawar, draft law organizing work of mosques. The draft law was presented by the Ministry of Endowments. The draft law was referred to a ministerial committee headed by Deputy Premier for Economic Affairs, the Minister of Planning and International Cooperation to revise it and refer it t the cabinet for discussion and endorsement.

The draft law aimed to revive the message f the mosque related to faithfulness, education and guidance as well as protection of the mosque sanctity and improvement of its administration and construction for performance of Islamic rites and other of the goals enhancing role of mosques in serving the citizen.

Al Iman Denies Training Camp on Premises

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Education, Palestinians, Religious, TI: External — by Jane Novak at 11:38 am on Saturday, January 24, 2009

near? funded by Iran and Qatar was the discordant note.

YO: The Office Director of Sheik Abdul-Majid al-Zindani, Rector of al-Eman University denied allegations made by some Yemeni websites that there is an open camp to train Jihadi fighters at the University. (Read on …)

Yemeni Jihaddis Murder Three Gay Men, Burn Police Stations in Jahr, Abyan

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Civil Rights, Religious, Yemen, attacks, political violence, security timeline — by Jane Novak at 12:37 pm on Saturday, January 17, 2009

The militants’ murder of three gay men (and the state’s non-response) highlights two trends. One is the continuing loss of physical control by the Yemeni state. Parts of the south have ejected the central government. Large areas in Sa’ada are semi autonomous under control of the rebels. The militants have taken over Jahr to the extent that they burnt government buildings and imposed their own law. The state is letting these areas slip away because it is too weak and too preoccupied to fight for them. A variety of competing groups have taken authority indicating fracturing or the Somalia syndrome. The state is ceasing to exist in some areas as funds dry up. The loudest, most radical groups in these areas are taking over to impose some social control.

Trend two is the accelerating Talibanization or radicalization of Yemen. These militants appointed themselves judge, jury and executioner. The murder of gays is the same as the murder of the Jewish rabbi last month. In both instances, the militants justify their murder of minorities as a public service. The fanatical intolerance fostered by the neo-Salafis requires the extermination of “enemies” where enemies are defined as anyone who holds a different world view or refuses to submit to their totalitarianism. The jihaddists have growing control over various territory in Yemen that is distinct from the “ungoverned tribal regions” often noted as a security concern. The Talibanizaton of Yemen is more than a territorial expansion, its a penetration of government structures and social mores.

Mujahideen are killing young people in Ja’ar on suspicion of sexual “irregularities”, December 28, 2008

Saeed Abdullah was a young 22-year-old Hanan shot dead by the Mujahideen in the city of Abyan province Ja’ar. Well-informed sources said the victim is the third young man is killed by Mujahideen militants in the street in front of Central Market, Ja’ar. He was killed last Saturday night on allegations are that the young man was gay.

Sources close to the jihadists said that the leaders of the armed group is the Islamic Emirate of Ja’ar… noted that among the mujahideen, they have burned police stations and government institutions and attacked military and security patrols during the last period of smuggling and complicity by local authorities concerned for fear of facing liability for the centers, military and political forces in Sanaa, which they roam about the human rights violations outside the law.

Lets wait for the Western outrage, it should be here any minute. Its a hate crime!

Update: Earthtimes reports Islamist militants stormed a prison in Jahr today, killing one guard, in an attempt to free prisoners.

Yemeni Human Rights Orgs Demand Protection, Justice for Yemeni Jews

Filed under: Civil Rights, Civil Society, Religious, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:40 pm on Monday, January 12, 2009

As you may recall, a Yemeni Jewish rabbi, father of nine, was slaughtered last month in Yemen in cold blood after demands to convert to Islam. Yemeni human rights organizations are demanding protection of the Jewish community’s rights. Of course, this stance comes at considerable risk due to agitation by extremists within and out of the government.

The killer’s family is harassing and threatening the victim’s family in court, and Jewish residents have been abused and physically injured since the rabbi’s murder. Plans are afoot to relocate the Jewish community to a secure complex in the capital, but when Jewish families were relocated from Sa’ada to Sana’a, they received no monetary compensation for their property left behind. Also the orgs make the valid point the Jews should be able to live anywhere in Yemen that they choose.

The harassment and targeting of Jews in Yemen is new and a result of the continuing Talabanization of Yemen fostered in part by President Ali Abdullah Saleh who promotes and legitimizes the jihaddist ideology.

Sahwa Net: The National Committee for Defending Rights and Freedoms (HOOD) has demanded the Justice Minister to render the killer of a Yemeni Jew, Masha Yaish, from Amran province into the Capital , Sana’a , in order to have a just trial. HOOD said that relatives of the killer had threatened Yaish’s family, provoked confusion inside the court and assaulted a soldier inside the courtroom.

HOOD Online: The Yemen Human Rights Observatory (YHRO)… said that tens of students at Al-Zahra School in Raida assaulted members of the Jewish minority during a random demonstration in protest against the ongoing Israeli attacks in Gaza…

They verbally assaulted Jews, threw stones at their houses, and intimidated their women and children. According to the statement, Jew Zaher Gafri sustained critical injuries, his face swelled up, and his appearance was stained with blood. Other Jewish citizens were subject to various injuries while on the street. The protestors hurled stones at houses of Jews Haim Yaeesh, Shakr Sulaiman, Salem Shaghdari, and Yahya Jaradi, and the houses’ occupants were intimidated.

The human rights organization held the security authorities responsible for what happened to the Jewish citizens in Raida, accusing them of being indifferent toward Jewish minorities. It continued that the authorities only asked Jews to move to Sana’a, which is another violation against their right to settle wherever they want.

HOOD, the YHRO and the others taking this stand are being vilified and threatened in the media and in the courtroom. Public sentiment has become more heated and volatile since the Israel incursion into Gaza; however, the organizations continue to press the ruling authorities and courts for some semblance of justice.

AIDS Increases as Poverty Fuels Prostitution

Filed under: Demographics, Medical, Religious, Women's Issues, Yemen, poverty/ hunger — by Jane Novak at 10:01 pm on Thursday, January 8, 2009

The hesitance to acknowledge there is prostitution trade in Yemen is part of the reason why more people are getting infected with this sexually transmitted disease. As the article notes, some young girls are driven by poverty to turn to the streets to make money to eat. AIDS is also transmitted by homosexual sex, another taboo topic. The use of condoms significantly reduces the odds of getting aids from an infected partner as well as being a reasonably effective method of birth control. But its such a conservative society that getting even these basic facts to the public become more difficult. It doesn’t make a country look bad when it deals with its problems, but often the tendency is to sweep these difficult issues under the rug.

IRIN

Yemen is ranked 153 out of 177 countries on the UN Development Programme’s (UNDP’s) 2007-08 Human Development Index. According to the Poverty Assessment Report 2007 prepared by the UNDP, the World Bank and the Yemeni government, the percentage of poor people among Yemen’s 21 million population stood at 34.8 percent. According to the UNDP office in Yemen, 15.7 percent of the population lives on less than US$1 a day and 45.2 percent live on less than US$2 a day.

Khaled Abdul-Majid, a programme officer at the UNDP office in Sanaa, said state institutions lacked the capacity to tackle HIV/AIDS, adding: “When there are not enough jobs, young people feel they have no future. Some resort to prostitution.” He also said internal and external migration had played a role in spreading the virus.

Commercial sex work on the rise

Some 16 percent of Yemen’s 21 million population lives on less than US$1 a day and 45 percent lives on less than US$2 a day, according to UNDP

Suad al-Qadasi, chair of the Women’s Forum for Research and Training (WFRT), a local NGO, said prostitution and commercial sex work had begun to increase rapidly over the past three years.

“But Yemen is a conservative community which does not acknowledge this phenomenon. This is a problem in itself,” she told IRIN.

The WFRT recently conducted a survey on commercial sex work but found that people were not willing to admit to its existence. “Denying it is a problem as awareness rests on acknowledging that the phenomenon exists,” Suad said, warning that if the situation continued, HIV/AIDS would be rife.

According to the US Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report 2006, Yemeni children were trafficked internally for sexual exploitation, and Yemen was also a destination country for trafficked Iraqi women.

Yemeni Jews Threatened

Filed under: Religious, Targeted Individuals, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:52 pm on Thursday, January 8, 2009

What can we learn from this article in the Yemen Times?

The Jewish people who were relocated from Sa’ada were not compensated for their property. Although the regime is mouthing words about protection, the lawyers who are representing the victim are being threatened. The Jewish community is still threatened and harassed by the murderer’s relatives and Salafis. A member of the community was murdered in cold blood last month, so these are not empty threats. The court in Amran is dominated by these forces, not only is it unfair but unsafe.

SANA’A, Jan. 4 – During the second court session of the trial of Abdul Aziz Al-Abdi, who is accused the murdering Jewish citizen Masha Al-Nahari this past December 31, journalists and lawyers said that “the court session was full of chaos and quarrels. A soldier was attacked by one of the family members of the accused. In addition, the Jewish family received death threats from the murderer’s relatives.”

Advocates of Al-Nahari demanded to transfer the case and trial to Sana’a due to lack of proper security at the Amran Court and dominance of Al-Abdi’s relatives who “control the events of the session and create chaos inside the court hall,” said Abdul Rahman Barman, a lawyer from Allaw Law Foundation which volunteered to defend Al-Nahari’s case in the court.

“Amid lack of security and the chaos that Al-Abdi’s relatives create, the trial will not be safe,” Barman said.

Today, the Yemeni Jews in Amran, some 70 kilometers northwest of Sana’a, are living in a state of horror after receiving threats from some Salafia supporters. The threats are increasing with the ongoing aggression in Gaza by the Israeli occupants. (Read on …)

Rehab in Yemen

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Civil Rights, Counter-terror, Religious, USA, Yemen, gitmo — by Jane Novak at 2:29 am on Monday, January 5, 2009

Jan 22, 2009

Yemen sets up rehab center for Guantanamo returnees, Arab News

SANAA: Yemen is setting up a center where more than 100 Yemenis are to undergo rehabilitation after their expected release from the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, state media reported yesterday.

The center is being built in Sanaa with US government assistance, according to the weekly newspaper 26 September, a Defense Ministry mouthpiece. (Read on …)

Aden Abyan Islamic Army Kill Four Gay Men?

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Religious, Security Forces, Targeting, security timeline — by Jane Novak at 11:29 pm on Friday, January 2, 2009

al-Hadath

Local sources said Ja’ar in the city of Abyan province, the “mujahideen”, or Army of Aden Abyan know, chasing young people in the region and to provide that those accused of killing young gay ومن ” المثليين ” It is “gay”

وأضافت المصادر لـ ” الحدث ” أن المجاهدين المسلحين أقدموا على قتل 3 أشخاص حتى الآن بذات التهمة ، وسط صمت من قبل الأجهزة الأمنية وعلى مرأى ومسمع من الجميع . The sources said the “event” that the Mujahideen militants they killed 3 people so far the same charge, amid the silence of the security organs and the eyes and ears of everyone. مشيراً إلى أن هؤلاء المجاهديـن يسيطرون على منطقة جعار وينتقلون فيها بأسلحتهم بطريقة أشبه بالحكم الذاتي . He pointed out that the Mujahideen Ja’ar control of the region and move the way their arms like a self-governing. (Read on …)

al Hekma Charity

Filed under: Civil Society, Religious, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:08 pm on Sunday, December 28, 2008


Jan 2007

More than 1,000 Yemeni men went to Iraq to fight jihad during 2003 to 2006, most of them during 2006, and around 150 were killed, a local newspaper reported on Monday.

The Al Tajamo weekly paper said that 70 to 75 per cent of the men went to Iraq from Yemen while the remainder went there from other countries. Most of them were young, under 20, and were influenced by extremist religious discourse.

The Al Hekma Charitable Association which is based in Aden, Sanaa and Abyan helped the young men go to Iraq for jihad, the paper said. The Al Hekma association has denied the claim.

AOL
In its latest issue, Al-Tajamu Weekly said that security reports indicate that extremist elements having links with Al-Hikma Association, affiliated with the Yemeni Islah Party in Aden, Abyan and Sana’a, provided money and logistic aids to Al-Qaeda leaders from Yemen and Saudi Arabia to recruit fighters and smuggle them into Iraq.

An Al-Hikma Association official was arrested over his involvement in providing facilitations to get one of his accomplices into Iraq. However, Al-Tajamu Newspaper mentioned that this man was released following intervention by senior security leaders.

March 2009

Sheikh Dr. Aqeel Al-Maqtari is one of the most prominent leaders of the Salafi Moderate Hekma Group in Yemen and is the scientific official in the Al-Hekma Al-Yamania Charitable Society.

YP: Is it true that Salafis main idea on the ruler (president) is that people should not go against him, and those who do go against Islam?
AM: Some believe that going against the Muslim ruler is forbidden, even if he does wrong actions. Their view is that one should advise him when he goes wrong and nothing else. This practice was followed by many scholars.
However, there are others who believe that armed opposition against the ruler is important if you have the capacity, which means defeating the ruler, on condition that the ruler clearly declares going against Islam.
In the past, there were some scholars who clearly said that revolution against the disobedient ruler is an obligation and a duty, but when they saw that a lot of blood was spilled, they forbid it.

Zindani: Women Cant Talk and Remember at the Same Time or at least I think thats what he said because I cant remember now that Im talking

Filed under: Religious, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:18 am on Monday, December 15, 2008

To view this clip, visit MEMRI

“Women Are Subject to Menstruation, When Their Endurance and Mental Capacity for Concentration Are Diminished”

Abd Al-Majid Al-Zindani: “Allah said, with regard to women bearing witness: ‘If two men are not available, then a man and two women, such as you choose as witnesses, so that if one of them errs, the other can remind her.’ Some heretics – communists and other atheists – ridiculed [this verse], saying: How come a man’s testimony equals that of two women? They used this to mock [the Muslims].

“The Muslims used to respond that women are subject to menstruation, when their endurance and mental capacity for concentration are diminished. When a woman witnesses a killing or an accident, she becomes frightened, moves away, and sometimes even faints, and she cannot even watch the incident. [...]

“The American Time magazine, in its July 31, 1995 issue, published this picture from research about the brain functioning of men and women. This is the ma… This is the female brain, and this is an image of the male brain. What do we see? We find that in the case of women, this area… And there is another here…

“Two areas in a woman’s brain are activated when she talks. As we can see, there are many centers of speech in a woman’s brain. There is a center in each lobe, while in the case of a man, there is only one center, here. The opposite center does not operate during speech, because it is busy remembering.”

“When a Woman Talks, She Might Use the Part of the Brain Containing the Memory for Talking – And That’s It, The Data is Lost”

“Both men and women have centers for speech and for memory. In the case of men, the center for speech is here, while the center for memory is here. When a man talks, his center for speech is active, and when he remembers something, his center for memory is active. On the other hand, when a woman wants to talk, she puts both centers into action. This may give us an explanation why women are more talkative.

“What is the outcome of this? When a woman talks, she uses the part of the brain that contains the memory, because in the case of women, both centers function for speech and memory. So when a woman talks, she might use the part of the brain containing the memory for talking – and that’s it, the data is lost.

“Therefore, if we need the testimony of women in cases pertaining to human lives, property, honor, or the stability of justice, we must take into consideration this fact of life in the nature of women.”

Extremsists Surround Jewish Homes in Yemen

Filed under: Religious, Targeting, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:13 am on Monday, December 15, 2008

Following our earlier report on the sectarian murder of a Jewish rabbi, a group of Muslim extremists (associated with the murderer) are surrounding the houses of several Jewish families in Yemen, throwing rocks and preventing them from leaving their homes. The government has taken no action and in desperation, the murdered man’s brother called a local news outlet.

AMRAN, NewsYemen: Rabbi Yehiya Yaish, one of the leaders of Jewish community in Yemen, said that he and other Jews are home arrested as eight suspected of killing his brother Moshe Yaish Nahari last Thursday are surrounding their houses since Saturday evening.

“We are home arrested and cannot even open doors due to threats by the gang that is surrounding houses in the area and throwing stones to windows and doors,” said Rabbi Yaish in a telephone call with NewsYemen….

Yaish said the order of the Interior Minister to arrest the eight suspects was “just for media coverage, but what is happening is that we are being attacked in broad daylight.”

Yaish refused to bury his brother Moshe and said Moshe would be buried together with the killer, calling Muslims to protect Jews.

Next the churches?

Religious Schools in Yemen

Filed under: Education, Religious, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 11:21 am on Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Apparently in Yemen its illegal to teach that the leader of the state should be a just Hashemite, which is an orthadox view, but its legal to teach that the world should be dominated by a global caliphate. One of the Houthis stated points of contention regards religious schools within the broader complaint of forced conversion. Meanwhile the Dar al-hadith network of religious schools has many, many offshoots. Probably the 800 schools referred below are Zaidi schools not Neo-Salafi schools. In any event, I’m nearly certain, but too lazy to dig through the archives, that these are the same statistics as 2005 (800/4000); the announcment at that time was greeted with a round of applause that the regime was cracking down on extremist schools. But now that Judge al-Hittar is on the case, I’m sure all the schools will be brought into line with regime approved curriculum.

20 percent of religious schools in Yemen unobserved: report

SANA’A, Dec. 09 (Saba) – An official report has revealed that about 20 percent of the religious schools in Yemen remain operating without government observation.

The report issued by the ministry of Endowments and Guidance noted that almost 4000 religious school operate in Yemen, of which 80 percent are directly monitored by the government through the ministries of Endowments and Guidance as well as Education.

The report says the two ministries are currently following up unobserved religious schools in an effort to close all schools operating in contravention to the Yemeni law. (Read on …)

Zawaheri Thanks Iran for Help in Yemen Terror Attacks

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Iran, Religious, TI: External, embassy — by Jane Novak at 11:55 pm on Sunday, November 23, 2008

The US intercepted this letter? Why isn’t it in a US paper? If Iran is funding and facilitiating AQ in Yemen, then things are a bit more crowded on the Yemen playground than I thought or in a different way anyway. Kinda an odd story yes?

Telegraph: Iran receives al Qaeda praise for role in terrorist attacks.

Fresh links between Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and al-Qaeda have been uncovered following interception of a letter from the terrorist leadership that hails Tehran’s support for a recent attack on the American embassy in Yemen, which killed 16 people.

Delivery of the letter exposed the rising role of Saad bin Laden, son of the al-Qaeda leader, Osama as an intermediary between the organisation and Iran. Saad bin Laden has been living in Iran since the fall of the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001, apparently under house arrest.

The letter, which was signed by Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaeda’s second in command, was written after the American embassy in Yemen was attacked by simultaneous suicide car bombs in September.

Western security officials said the missive thanked the leadership of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards for providing assistance to al-Qaeda to set up its terrorist network in Yemen, which has suffered ten al-Qaeda-related terror attacks in the past year, including two bomb attacks against the American embassy. (Read on …)

Journalist Targeted by Tafirism in Yemen

Filed under: Media, Religious, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 4:04 pm on Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Almotamar.net – The General People’s Congress Party GPC media men have on Wednesday denounced strongly open accusation of infidelity and ideological terror against the writer and thinker Najib Ghalab that would expose his life to danger , calling on the Yemeni Journalists syndicate , The Writers Union , Unions of Teaching Staffs at universities and al organisations concerned with press freedoms for solidarity with Ghalab and all persons of opinion against those accusing of infidelity and those who attempt to politicize religion in order to physically liquidate those who disagree with their visions , opinions and orientations.

In a statement in this regard obtained by almotamar.net journalists working at the GPC’s newspapers and news websites called on writers to commit to dialogue and respect values of difference in opinion far from blind fanaticism

Yemen: No Religious Insults

Filed under: Donors, UN, Religious — by Jane Novak at 8:28 pm on Thursday, October 2, 2008

oh goody, doe this mean that Christians in Yemen might get equal rights?

Yemen calls for legislations banning insulting religious figures

NEW YORK, Sep. 29 (Saba)- Yemen called on Monday the UN General Assembly to adopt decisions to protect religious figures and to criminalize attacks on sacred properties.

That was mentioned in Yemen speech delivered by Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al-Qirbi in the 63rd round of the UN General Assembly which is currently held in New York.

Al-Qirbi talked about Yemen’s efforts in confronting terrorism and thwarting a number of terrorist acts such the last terror attack that targeted the US embassy in Sana’a.

He expressed hope that international condemnations of that attack is translated on reality in the form of support to help Yemen accelerate human development and confront poverty challenges.

Baha’i

Filed under: Religious, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:29 pm on Saturday, September 27, 2008

Bahairi Rights

At-Tagammu, a Yemeni newspaper published by the Yemeni Unitary Congregation party, recently reported on the threats facing Yemen’s small Baha’i community following the arrest of 6 Baha’is in June. The newspaper highlighted the propagandist attempts inciting hatred against the community and accused extremist fundamentalists for the oppression. Below is our translation of the article.

After Yemen’s security authorities informed several Baha’i families that their breadwinners will be deported, the lives of 250 Baha’is in Yemen has been fraught with the risks of deportation, exclusion and cancellation, to a level that makes the country the scene of a major case of religious persecution.
(Read on …)

Religious Freedom

Filed under: Religious — by Jane Novak at 7:15 pm on Saturday, September 27, 2008

Not Zaidis, Hashemites actuallly, but the report is getting much better. There’s also the Bahai arrested and facing deportation.

The US International Religious Freedom Report 2008,released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, said that neither Yemeni constitution nor other laws protect or inhibit freedom of religion.

“Neither Yemeni constitution nor other laws protect or inhibit freedom of religion; however, government policies contributed to the generally free practice of religion.” (Read on …)

V&V Commission, Talibanization of Yemen

Filed under: Religious, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 10:03 am on Sunday, September 14, 2008

or the growth of Salafi extremism, whatever

Guardian

The Egyptian crooner Ehab Tawfiq has bedroom eyes, smouldering good looks and a voice that enchants Arab audiences. Sadly he won’t be perfoming any time soon in Yemen, where he has been blocked by a controversial new Saudi-style “religious police” charged with enforcing austere standards of public morality.

Tawfiq sings catchily about love and relationships. But a concert he was due to give in Sana’a was postponed and then cancelled last month after a campaign by the country’s newly-formed “virtue committee”, which distributed posters and leaflets — and, say some, encouraged death threats and intimidation — condemning the handsome Egyptian for promoting “sedition, immorality and nudity”.

For many Yemenis, and for women in particular, this was another alarming sign of the growth of Salafi extremism — an unwelcome import from neighbouring Saudi Arabia where the “mutaween” religious police are part of the scenery. (Read on …)

Convert to Islam= Good, Convert to Christianity = Jail

Filed under: Religious — by Jane Novak at 9:53 am on Sunday, September 14, 2008

There’s nine people in jail for either converting to Christianity or proselytizing.

Ethiopian, Philippine women converted to Islam in Aden

ADEN, Sep.13 (Saba)- Ferot Taklik, Ethiopian women and Liza Nightah from Philippine converted to Islam on Saturday here. They declared themselves as Moslems before a committee from endowment and guidance office.

Director General of Aden Endowment and Guidance Office Fuad al-Buraihi told Saba that the Ethiopian woman changed her name as Fatima while the Philippine women named herself Mariam. The two women were given documents of converting to Islam and two books of Holly Koran.

Summer Camps

Filed under: Counter-terror, Religious, Saada War, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 3:15 pm on Thursday, August 28, 2008

Good article from the CSM that captures the dispute about summer camps. I dont think the Believing Youth have youth summer camps, but the regime’s campaign tends to spread far beyonbd the Houthis. The government sponsored camps do push a version of Islam that is not espoused by the entirety of the diverse population in Yemen. For their part, the rebels talk about a governemnt tactic of forced conversion implemented through schools and mosques.

Opposition party leaders claim that new schools to stem extremism prevent minority sects from recruiting new members.

Sanaa, Yemen – Every morning, 300 children – mostly boys, ages 7 to 15 – gathered at the Great Mosque in Sanaa to memorize the Koran during the summer months. For centuries, different sects have run private religious summer schools in mosques throughout Yemen. Some of these are now threatened by closure.

In a speech last month announcing the end of a four-year war with the Al Houthi rebels in northern Yemen, President Ali Abdullah Saleh inaugurated new, government-sponsored religious summer schools serving up to 172,000 youth.

These new institutions are part of a campaign to create national unity and counteract what Mr. Saleh describes as the extremist ideology taught in unlicensed religious schools. But members of the sects deny extremist leanings and claim that the new summer program is an attempt to weaken opposition parties aligned with particular religious groups.

Yemen is increasingly perceived by the international community as a haven for Islamist jihadis. There have been 20 terrorist attacks in Yemen this year alone.

In a state dominated by tribes, some of which are connected to religious minority sects, government control over regions outside the capital is weak. Saleh has described his relationship with tribes as “a dance with snakes.” The summer programs, then, are an attempt to improve Yemen’s counterterrorism record.

Under Yemen’s education laws, the government began shutting down sectarian schools as early as 1991.

“Extremist groups could be responsible for some summer camps which encourage terrorism,” says Hamoud Ubad, minister of youth and sports. “We do not want to give permission to any extremists who would like to plant undesirable ideas … in the minds of our youth.” In response, the government began a program of summer camps three years ago, which this year doubled in number.

Four sects are considered extremist in Yemen, explains Saif al-Asaly, professor of economics at Sanaa University: Sufi, Salafi, the Shiite Al Houthi, and the Islamic Brotherhood, represented by factions within the Islah Party. Although the majority of Yemenis do not formally belong to one of these four sects, Mr. Asaly says, “Yemenis are being affected by their ideas through the sermons they hear at mosques, lectures, and [in] books.”

Members of these sects deny any affiliation with extremism. “There are extremists in Yemen, but not from the Islah Party,” asserts Amat al-Salaam Rajaa, a party leader. She adds that the summer program is a political maneuver by the president’s party to weaken the ability for opposition parties to recruit new members.

The conservative Islah Party, an opposition party, holds 15 percent of seats in parliament. According to political analyst Hani Zainulbhaii, the Al Houthi and Islah Party use summer schools to recruit members. Over the past four years, 50 to 60 camps run by the Al Houthi rebels have been shut down, says Hamoud al-Hittar, minister of endowments and religious guidance. Ten to 15 of these were closed in the past month. The Yemeni press, meanwhile, has reported the closure of 1,000 religious summer camps this year.

Analysts suggest that the president previously allowed religious sects greater freedom because they were willing to fight in the conflict against Al Houthi rebels. Now that there is a break in warfare, the president is bringing these sects back under his secular party’s control through antiextremism measures.

9 converts and 6 Baha’i detained

Filed under: Religious — by Jane Novak at 11:01 am on Thursday, August 28, 2008

SAN’A, Yemen (AP) – A Yemeni security official says police are cracking down on Muslims who have converted to Christianity.
The official says at least nine people have been detained in recent months. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
Rights activists and a family member
of one of those detained say they fear those arrested could be tortured or abused in prison.
Conversion from Islam to any other religion is illegal in Yemen.
Separately, the official says police also have arrested six Iranians in Yemen who are followers of the Baha’i faith for allegedly belonging to a rebel group. Though not officially banned in Yemen, the Baha’i religion is considered by some Muslims as heresy.

Al-Zindani President of the Virtue and Vice Commission

Filed under: Civil Rights, Religious, Tribes, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 4:18 pm on Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Yemen Observer

The newly established vice and virtue committee elected Sheikh Abdulmajid al-Zindani as a president of the committee, Sheikh Sadiq Bin Abdullah Bin Hussein al-Ahmar vice president and Sheikh Hamoud al-Tharihi as a Secretary General, said Sheikh Hamoud al-Tharihi. (Read on …)

No Caliphate, thats the problem

Filed under: Religious, USA, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:04 pm on Saturday, August 9, 2008

Is the The Islamic Liberation Party the translation of Hizb Ut-Tahir? Its the same ideology. The discrepancy between the regime’s treatment of the pro-Caliphate ideologs and the pro-Imamate ideologs is striking, yet both advocate a theocracy.

And of course, the problems in Yemen have all to do with the NDI trying to expand political participation and nothing to do with ubiquitous Khat usage which takes hours daily for 85% of the workforce, diminishing national productivity greatly, or perhaps exclusion of half of society (women) from the workforce and society in general or perhaps the prevalence of child marriage which only increases the spiral of poverty and illiteracy. No, of course the disaster that is Yemen is all the US’s fault for trying to help the twisted political system come to any sort of functionality.

Yemen Post

The Islamic Liberation Party, Yemen branch, demanded shutting down the National Democratic Institute (NDI), the Danish Institute and other foreign organizations because they pose great risk on the Yemeni society’s culture and its sons.

The party also warned Yemeni civil society organizations against establishing relations with the foreign embassies, describing them as the biggest devil.

It further accused the NDI of fueling the Summer War of 1994 that left behind thousands of people dead and injured, together with immense material losses. It also left wild scars on the Yemeni national unity.

In its symposium themed “The International Conflict over Yemen under the Absence of Islamic Caliphate” organized last Thursday in Sana’a, the party called for restoring the Islamic Caliphate.

It also demanded an entire and radical solution for Sa’ada issue and not to use the war for settling scores, recommending as well setting solutions for what it called lifting the injustice against the South Yemen’s sons.

The party came into existence in 1997 and it got several facilities by influential personalities. It held its first Caliphate conference in 2002, shortly after security forces arrested some of the party’s leaders on what is known as the ‘war on terror’.

The Virtue Conference: Mostly al-Iman Students

Filed under: Civil Rights, Islah, Presidency, Religious, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 11:09 am on Sunday, July 20, 2008

Having played the terrorism card to exhaustion, Saleh plays the religion card with some trick to divide the Islah party, something to bolster his political capital at a time of weakness. Whatever it is, its a furtherance of the growing Talabanization of Yemen. This is an interesting post by a Yemeni woman entitled “Yemen, Sexual Harassment and Women”, who writes:

The problem in Yemen and Saudi in my opinion stems from the sexual objectification of women and a culture that views them as inferior, not only are they physically weaker but intellectually and morally inferior….The strict segregation is part of the cause as well, it creates lack of interaction and familiarity between the sexes. I consider it unhealthy that relatives for example cannot mingle with each other, instead females retreat hastily in another room if a man is approaching without even a greeting. Curtains are used to separate the sexes when talking to each other, those situations sexualise a perfectly normal environment. Any interaction between the sexes is deemed to be sexual.

The above author concludes , “It’s important that we strike a middle and balanced ground in order to have a healthy society and when pursuing virtue not achieve the opposite.”

An article from the Yemen Oserver notes the attendees of the conference were mostly al-Iman students, so the whole thing is looking like an al-Zindani creation, including the declaration that any women in the work force will lead to chaos in society and sex in the streets. Meanwhile the vice in Yemeni society is concentrated among its elite and leaders who steal food daily from the mouths of starving children. They are the ones who need moral guardians on an hourly basis. As the Italians say, a fish rots from its head. And of course and predictably, the conference focused on villifying journalists in particular.

The Yemen Observer: An alliance of Yemeni religious scholars and tribal leaders has decided to watch and safeguard the morals and values of the society through holding annual meetings rather than permanent committees, which were strongly criticized before being established.

Under the slogan “It’s the guards of virtue who will protect the ship from drowning,” the clerics and tribesmen – the self-appointed guardians of virtue – decided to hold a yearly conference, called “The meeting of promoting virtue and combating vice.” They backed down from a previous proposal submitted to President Ali Abdullah Saleh last May, for establishing virtue committees (religious police) and for monitoring the activities of individuals and institutions by banning any vice-related activity such as selling alcoholic drinks, night clubs, hotels, restaurants, or massage centers.

The clerics and tribesmen retracted from establishing their committees of promoting virtue and combating vice after strong criticisms from journalists, writers and politicians, who viewed the job of such committees as the responsibility of the state.

No single woman attended the one-day meeting held on Tuesday July 15 by the tribesmen and the Sunni religious scholars. The meeting was chaired by the tribal leader, Sadeq Abdullah al-Ahmar – sheikh of Yemen’s most influential tribe, the Hashed – and cleric Abdul Majeed al-Zandani, who is accused by the United States of supporting terrorism.

Most of the nearly two thousands male attendees were students of Al-Eyman University, a religious university run and owned by al-Zandani. The rest of the attendees were Salafi clerics and tribesmen. No prominent politicians from the Islamist party Islah attended the meeting except Sheikh al-Zandani, who has his own Salafi current inside the party. The politicians of Islah refused the demand of establishing committees for virtue, saying that it was only a political trick from the president Saleh to divide the Islah party, the largest opposition party on the one hand, and divide the opposition alliance which includes the Islah Islamists, Socialists and Nasserites on the other.

“Talking about committees for virtue has political reasons behind, aiming to mix the cards and confuse political life in an official attempt to divert the attention from its helplessness and corruption of the government, and thus holding others responsible for its faults including weakening the effectiveness of the official bodies and working outside the constitution and law,” said the alliance of the three parties in a statement issued three days before the meeting of the clerics and tribesmen. (Read on …)

Virtue & Vice Commission: Complete Segregation of the Sexes and No Working Women

Filed under: Employment, Religious, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:30 pm on Friday, July 18, 2008

ISA:

Text of report by London-based independent newspaper Al-Quds al- Arabi website on 17 July
[Report by Khalid al-Hammadi in Sanaa: "Analysts consider the formation of the Virtue Commission in Yemen as a sign of the weakness of the state or intended to divert the attention of the public away from its suffering prior to the parliamentary elections; the Commission for the Propagation of Virtue or the 'Yemeni Al- Mutawa'ah' declares war on prostitution, alcoholic beverages, drugs, and child trade"]

The commission to protect virtue in Yemen held its first conference in Sanaa yesterday. The conference -that was held with official backing -was attended by a large gathering of senior religious scholars and intellectuals from various parts of Yemen with a noticeable absence of the leaders of the opposition parties, including the Islamist Reform Party. The conferees decided to change the name of the commission from the Virtue Commission to the Commission for the Propagation of Virtue thus becoming identical in character and tasks to the Saudi Commission for the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice that is popularly known as the “Al- Mutawa’ah”. (Read on …)

Yemeni Womens Union Rejects Fatwa Against Work

Filed under: Reform, Religious, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 4:16 pm on Thursday, July 17, 2008

Beautiful women who work outside the house will drive society to chaos. What does that mean? Men and woman have no self-restraint and are consumed only with thinking about sex? Are we talking about animals or humans here? How insulting to everybody.

Mareb Press:

The Yemeni Women Union condemned today the religious decree issued by the religious scholars about quota system.

The YWU accused the religious scholars who issued that decree of defaming the women and offending their honor, dignity and decency.

The YWU mentioned some Quranic verses in support of their viewpoint. Allah says “Those who persecute or draw into temptation, the believers men and women, and do not turn in repentance, will have the penalty of hell”.

The YWU said the statement of the religious scholars is reducing the value and importance of the great role of women in building the society.

The statement added that everything in this booklet is contradicting with Islam which gives women absolute equality with men, said the statement denying any superiority for men over women citing from Quran “Mankind, we created you from a single (pair) of a male and female, and made you into nations and tribes that you may know each other, verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you and Allah has full knowledge and is well-acquainted.”

“The women quota contradicts with our religion,” said the fatwa in the booklet. “Women racing to get out of the houses and be mixed with men in the places of work showing their beauty for all men, will lead to non-marriage relations, relations of lovers, and continuation of these relations will make the society drop to sexual chaos, loss of the decency, spread of adultery and illegal kids,” the booklet said. “We are with the equality of religious responsibilities of men and women, but we are not with the equality of employment of the roles of men and women,” said the scholars.

Conflict Renews in Sa’ada War; 27,000 Jihaddists to Fight

Filed under: Civil Unrest, Religious, Saada War, Saudi Arabia — by Jane Novak at 12:46 pm on Thursday, July 17, 2008

There was a two day lull. From the Yemen Times:

Alleged human rights abuses in Bani Hushaish

The Yemeni Socialist Party-affiliated Aleshtaraki.net reports that the Yemeni army has committed human rights abuses against several residents of Bani Hushaish, located east of Sana’a. It quoted local sources as saying that the army attacked Beit Al-Aghrabi village with heavy weaponry, although Houthi gunmen withdrew from the village and stopped fighting, according to a tribal mediation.

“The army destroyed residents’ homes and property before raiding the village. [Army personnel] evicted residents, including women and children, to a nearby school,” Bani Hushaish sources say, adding that the soldiers beat, badmouthed and insulted citizens.

According to the same sources, female soldiers from counterterrorism units deployed in the area arrested numerous women from Beit Al-Aghrabi village on suspicion of supporting Houthi gunmen. They further noted that the Yemeni army has arrested the majority of the village’s male residents under age 50.

In a statement published by state-run Al-Thawrah daily newspaper on Wednesday, an official government source in Bani Hushaish denied the authenticity of the report by Aleshteraki.net, clarifying that the Yemeni army is searching for wanted fugitives and that no human rights abuses have been committed.

Various sources allege that several army commanders, tribal leaders and regional forces have intervened to foil the mediation efforts that played a notable role in ending the war, unblocking the Sana’a-Sa’ada Highway, releasing besieged troops and transporting food supplies to the war-affected governorate.

Regarding the proposed “Popular Army” to be comprised of 27,000 recruits under the command of the Hashid tribe to fight Houthis, tribal sources affirm that the establishment of this army is underway.

In its most recent issue, Al-Ahale independent weekly newspaper blamed the Saudi Special Committee, chaired by Emir Sultan Bin Abdulaziz, for establishing and funding what it described as the “Janjawid Army,” hinting at the prospective popular army.

The weekly continued, reporting that an unnamed Saudi committee member recently visited Yemen to meet with tribal leaders, encouraging them to back the government in its war against Houthis.

Worries over potential sectarian conflict

A religious forum including Salafi members and tribesmen was held Tuesday, chaired by Sheikh Abdulmajid Al-Zindani, rector of Al-Iman Islamist University and also on the U.S. terror list. At the forum, participants agreed to contribute to the gathering of tribesmen under the name of a “Popular Army” to fight against Houthis, who belong to the Zaidi Islamic sect.

Reliable sources report that Salafi leaders promised to gather thousands of well-trained jihadists, most of whom are called “Yemeni Afghans,” to back the Yemeni army in its fight against Zaidi Houthis in Sa’ada and other areas.

The Yemeni government’s intent to form a religious committee in collaboration with Salafis to fight against Zaidi Houthis has raised sharp controversy among all of those concerned, who predict that doing so will create a new crisis, as well as sectarian and political conflicts that may harm Yemen’s social fabric.

Various social figures believe that establishing such a committee with religious powers constitutes a threat to personal and civil freedoms, noting that it also creates obstacles to Yemen’s emergency democracy.

Parliament Codifying Sharia Law More Strictly

Filed under: Civil Rights, Parliament, Religious, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:18 pm on Monday, July 14, 2008

Yemen Post

The Committee of Islamic Sharia revealed that they refused to make any amendments presented by the government to the decree No. 12 of 1994 on crimes and punishments, adding that the government calls for new amendments to the decree advocating legal equality between men and women in blood money.

The committee’s refusal is justified by the consensus of Muslims over the subject since the era of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH).

It also added a new text stating one-year imprisonment for an adult man seen in private with a female who is not his close relative. Further, the text stipulated that the woman shall be punished by the same term in case she goes out with that man at her will.

The committee did not change the texts relating to slandering the head of state where the punishment shall be a two-year term. The same applies when defaming a king or president of a foreign country.

In addition to the capital punishment, the committee asked for an imprisonment term (between 5-15 years) for a person who causes harm to war preparations meant for defending the country. Further, the committee did not change the text that punishes a rapist whether male or female with a term of seven years.

Likewise, the committee did not change the text that punishes a person who commits the crime of adultery with a three-year term.

The term stretches to 15 years once the victim is under 18. The same term is applied when the criminal action leads the victim to commit suicide.

V&V

Yemen Online

Yemen: Vice and virtues body to organize its first meeting in Sana’a
YemenOnline-July 14,2008- Preparatory Committee of vice and virtue in Sana’a announced that the their first meeting is going to organize tomorrow morning at Apollo Hall in Sanaa. Sheikh Abdel Maguid Al-Zidani member of supreme body of the Yemeni Islah Party said that attending of people to the meeting is a support of Virtue and Prevention of Vice.Through pressure from Abdul-Majeed al-Zindani and his close supporters, the government entertained the idea of a Vice and Virtues police force that would crack down on un-Islamic behavior.The Vice and Virtues police were briefly in operation, but they were quickly taken out of practice by the government. Cities as Aden ,Al-houdieda are known to have a more powerful fundamentalist influence. The fact that the Islamic police have now appeared in Sana’a shows the rise in conservative power, even though the Islamic police force is not yet legitimate.

Imperialistic Fanatics With Military Backing Outlaw Chinese Food in Sana’a

Filed under: Religious, Targeting — by Jane Novak at 1:49 pm on Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Talibanization of Yemen

Vice and Virtues Police Asserts their Unofficial Power in Yemen

YemenOnline- July 04, 2008- An Islamic police force has raided and shut down many restaurants around Sana’a. On July 3, China Town restaurant was stormed by armed soldiers and bearded religious zealots. Eyewitnesses say that the restaurant owners and patrons were forced on the street while the soldiers destroyed alcohol bottles inside. The gates of the restaurant were shut and the establishment was closed down. Now, there is a sign spray painted on the wall, saying “closed by the authority of the District Attorney and the Hadda Police.” Our legal expert tells us that not only does the district attorney have no authority to shut down the restaurant, but that the Hadda police had no right to even search the place. (Read on …)

Al-Hittar to dialog with returning Gitmo detainees

Filed under: Religious, TI: Internal, Yemen, gitmo — by Jane Novak at 3:04 pm on Friday, July 4, 2008

The regime refuses to keep even convicted terrorists in jail and al-Hitar’s dialog only requires a promise not to launch attacks within Yemen.

YemenOnline-July 2,2008- Judge. Hamoud Al-Hitar, Minister of Endowment and Guidance, confirmed to YemenOnline that Yemen intends to provide appropriate circumstances to receive the 106 Yemeni prisoners of Guantanamo who are expected to come back home soon.

He declared that Yemen Government, aiming at incorporating those prisoners into the community, plans to intellectually rehabilitate them and eliminate the extremist concepts influenced by Al-Qaeda.The British and American Governments intend to have Mr. Al-Hitar’s assistance in this regard as he had had previous successful experiences of intellectually rehabilitating over 420 persons influenced by the extremist ideas of Al-Qaeda during the period 2001 to 2005.

SANA’A, NewsYemen

The United States said it would not like to keep detainees in the US Guantanamo Bay, including Yemenis, anymore.

The official of Detainees File at the US Department of State Tony Rech, who is on a special visit to Yemen for the issue of Yemeni detainees in Gitmo along with other delegates, said in an interview with the independent al-Nida weekly published on Wednesday that detainees in Gitmo are being assessed individually as “some detainees are more dangerous than some others”.

We are serious about closing Guantanamo Bay, but what we are looking forward is to get warrantees that limit the danger some detainees may represent, said the US officials. (Read on …)

US Concerned About Humanitarian Disaster in Sa’ada, 12er’s Outlawed

Filed under: Civil Rights, Religious, Saada War, USA, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 2:49 pm on Friday, July 4, 2008

A humanitarian truce, a good idea.

Peacekeepers to disengage the warring sides is another one, but that won’t get any traction.

Sahwa Net- The United States has expressed its concern over human consequences caused by the conflict in Saada . American officials in Sana’a urged infighting sides, Houthi rebels and the government to let food, fuel and other necessities arrive to civilians.

An American official affirmed the authenticity of reports saying that the U.S. refused to designate al-Houthis among terrorist movements, pointing out that the designating is a complicated process based on strong evidence that an individual or a group is involved in terrorist acts.

As for the Yemen-U.S. relations crisis, the U.S. official said that U.S. believes that Jmal al-Badawi , the mastermind of the 2000 bombing of USS Cole bombing that killed 17 American sailors and has t Jaber Elbaneh , a Yemeni-American convicted of planning attacks on oil installations in Yemen, have to be extradited to U.S.

Update: Like Christian Bibles, apparently 12er books are illegal in Yemen: (Ithna Ashari is the official religion of Iran that Saleh recently desribed as racist . Twelvers constitute ninety percent of the modern population of Iran and fifty-five to sixty percent of the population of Iraq. Twelver Shiites are the majority in Iran, Iraq, Azerbaijan and also have substantial populations in Turkey, Pakistan, Lebanon, Syria, India, Afghanistan and Bahrain.)

Yemen Observer:
A group of 8 Yemeni men accused of supporting the al-Huthi tribe’s armed rebellion against the Yemeni Government has been held in the southern harbor of Aden, official sources said on Thursday.

“The 8-member cell was running a printing press for printing and distributing leaflets promoting the dark, backward, and terrorist ideas of al-Huthi,” A spokesman for the ministry of interior said in a statement. The printing press was seized by the authorities, the spokesman added.

The men were running the printing press with the purpose of distributing publications promoting extreme, marginal Shiite ideology called Ethna Ashari, which says rulers of Islamic nations must be decedents of the prophet Mohammed.

The 8 men were among those wanted by the security authorities, whose pictures and names were given out to security checkpoints on charges of supporting the al-Huthi armed rebellion in Sa’adah.

Late last June, also 8 leading rebellion supporters were arrested in Al-Jawaf, Sana’a, and Amran provinces as part of the crack-down by the government on supporters of rebel leader Abdul Malik al-Houthi.

Meanwhile, the US embassy in Sana’a refused to classify the al-Houthi rebels as terrorists, saying that classification of terrorist groups is a very complicated process which needs to based on hard evidence. “Until now, such evidence does not exist in this issue,” said an embassy statement published in Al-Sahwa newspaper on Thursday.

The embassy also expressed in that statement its concerns over the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Sa’adah because of the armed conflict between rebels and government troops. It urged the two warring parties to secure the food, water, and fuel necessary for the civilians being affected by the war.

“Forgotten Lives in a Forgotten War” Sa’ada, Yemen

Filed under: Religious, Saada War, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 10:30 am on Sunday, June 22, 2008

Several recent articles discuss the Sa’ada war and bring up religious demographics and explore if there is a sectarian dimension to the war. First of all, lets note that there are several sects of Zaidism and the residents of Sa’ada are largely Jarudis, to distinguish them from other Zaydis (the Batriya, the Salihiya and Sulaymaniya).

As Global Security notes, Zaidis are “moderate” in that “The Zaidis do not believe in the infallibility of the Imams, nor that they receive divine guidance. Zaidis…believe it can be held by any descendant of Ali. They also reject the Twelver notion of a hidden Imam, and like the Ismailis believe in a living imam, or even imams. In matters of law or fiqh, the Zaidis are actually closest to the Sunni Shafie school.”

It is my impression, and Im sure someone in Yemen will correct me if Im wrong, for which I am quite appreciative, that within the moderate Zaidi school, the Jarudis are the most inclined to require a Hashimi leader, within the broader acceptability of a “just” leader.

Two recent articles define Hashimis in relation to the Saada War. First is an article about the Sa’ada War in the Middle East Times that critiques an earlier Washington Post article. The MET article correctly states that the war is a political conflict with both sides using external bogey men to gain international support. However, that article describes Yemen’s leadership as Zaidi, not entirely true, as Ali Mohsen who is leading the war effort is a convert to Wahabbism and surrounds himself with hard core Salafis. And the Yemeni regime itself gave the war sectarian overtones, for example by calling the rebels and sympathizers “Satanic”, issuing Fatwas, burning religious books, banning mainstream religous ceremonies (al-Ghadir day) and harassing Hashimites based on their religion. The regime’s Houthi paranoia has reached new heights and anyone with a grudge can get their enemy arrested by leveling a charge of Houthism.

The most significant fact of the Sa’ada war is, was and remains the regime’s collective punishment of the civilian population, including random bombardment, arbitrary arrests and the withholding of food, medicine and international aid. The withholding of food and medicine to 700,000 civilians in Sa’ada is a practice the regime sometimes openly defends, othertimes obscures as required by “security concerns”. Yemen’s donors have made statements about the humanitarian disaster in Sa’ada, calling for a resolution that allows aid to the region, however aid organizations are still stymied.

The EU called on the Yemeni government to do “all it can to ensure that innocent civilians are not caught up in the conflict”….Based on the assessment of needs and access to victims, the EU remains ready to consider urgent humanitarian assistance to victims, including the worrying number of internally displaced people.

The EU voiced the belief that only a political solution can achieve lasting peace, and called on all parties to show restraint and to work actively towards a negotiated settlement along the lines of the February 2008 agreement. “The stability of Yemen is crucial for the people of Yemen and for the region as a whole,” the presidency said.

Mareb Press: “The US embassy in Sana’a said in the first comment about what is happening in Saada that resuming dialogue is the best solution for restoring peace in the government. The human and economic losses are great in Saada and the US thinks that dialogue is the best alternative choice, the independent al-Share’e Newspaper quoted the source as saying.”

Now to the second article, which notes the Houthis are 5′ers not 12′ers like Iranian Shia and, like the WaPo article, highlights both the media blackout and the humanitarian crisis. The region is under seige, the author correctly states, and the civilians have recieved very little attention internationally, which is partially due to the media black-out.

Yemeni Daggers Unsheathed
By RANNIE AMIRI

“If a cat dies in Lebanon, the world knows about it. Here in Yemen, we are forgotten.”

- Zaidi scholar Sayyid Mourtada al-Muhatwari

The jambiya or ceremonial curved, double-edged dagger worn under the belt of Yemeni men after age 14 conveys both the status and clan of the person wearing it. It may be harmlessly drawn during traditional dances but only in rare and exceptional circumstances would it ever be used as a weapon against another. Sadly, this is essentially what is happening in the fratricidal war taking place in Yemen, one of the Arab world’s poorest countries. It is a war that has gone largely unnoticed yet one that clearly exposes the political and sectarian fault lines emblematic of similar conflicts in Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine.

The uprising in Saada, a governorate located in the mountainous highlands of northwest Yemen along the border with Saudi Arabia, began exactly four years ago. It was initially led by Zaidi cleric Hussein Badr al-Din al-Houthi and his Shabab al-Momineen (Believing Youth) movement against the government of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

To better understand this rebellion, a cursory knowledge of Zaidi and Yemeni history is helpful.

The Zaidiyyah school in Islam is considered an early offshoot of Shia Islam. Whereas the majority of Shiites believe that a finite line of 12 Imams succeeded the Prophet Muhammad, Zaidis assert that Zaid ibn Ali, after whom they are named, should have rightfully been recognized as the 5th Imam instead of his brother. More importantly, they contend the line of imams is ongoing and continues to this day. Any male who can trace their lineage back to the Prophet qualifies for the position (reports differ as to whether Hussein al-Houthi designated himself as imam). These Arab descendents of the Prophet are known as Hashimites. (Read on …)

Seven Arrested in Yemen for Promoting Christianity

Filed under: Religious, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 12:40 pm on Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Sahwa Net- Yemeni security sources in Hodiada province has arrested a missionary cell including 7 people on charges of promoting to Christianity and distributing the Bible.

Sources told Sahwa Net that the Political Security of Hodaida arrested a so-called Hadni Dohni accused of converting to Christianity and other 6 aides.

The sources said that the suspects were transferred to Sana’a in order to investigate them to know who support them.

Yemen’s Religious Extremists Tighten Grasp on Society

Filed under: Religious — by Jane Novak at 6:28 am on Saturday, June 14, 2008

Yemen to establish religious police and Jihad TV channel, further undermining reformers and democracy advocates.

The Media Line

[‘Sana, Yemen] Educated and liberal, Ghaida Farouq likes to hang out with her family and friends in places like the Coffee Trader, a Starbucks-style coffee shop in ‘Sana, capital of Yemen, and in the new variety of restaurants offering quality services and food.

Smiling, happy faces can be seen in such places, where men and women, locals and foreigners can enjoy drink or food. A first-time visitor might ask: “Is this really Yemen?”

People who hang out in these places spend on a cup of coffee more than the average pay slip of a regular citizen in Yemen. And the ambience provides a romantic venue for couples to enjoy being together without any kind of harassment.

However, this Western-like environment is deemed by some religious scholars in Yemen as a center of immorality. They believe that “international Zionism” and “materialism” of the owners will damage the morality of the Muslim nation. (Read on …)

Takfirism And Religious Police as a Method of Repressing Political Opposition

Filed under: Religious, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:00 am on Friday, June 13, 2008

The National

SANA’A // Civil society organisations have condemned calls by clerics for the establishment of a religious police, or “authority to promote virtue and curb vice”, as an attack on civil rights and freedom of expression.

Around 50 representatives of a variety of organisations who gathered at the al Jawi Forum in Sana’a last week said establishing a “religious police” is unconstitutional and contravenes the state’s duty to protect individual rights. They subsequently pledged to organise campaigns against it.

“Such an authority under the pretext of countering vice is only another façade for political oppression through the use of religion,” read a joint press release issued by nine of the organisations.

“It is just an outcome of the coalition between the political and religious institutions and is meant to harass and intimidate political activists critical of government policies.” (Read on …)

The Talibanization of Yemen: Gender Mingling Draws Attack in Aden

Filed under: Civil Rights, Religious, South Yemen, Women's Issues — by Jane Novak at 8:41 am on Sunday, June 8, 2008

Talking to women in public: haram. It leads to sex in the street according to the fanatics.

Student attacked for walking with women
Friday 06 June 2008 / Mareb Press

A 23-year-old university student said he was beaten up for walking with a female friend in Aden in May.

“A bearded man attacked and slapped me while I was walking with my girl colleague, saying it’s haram to talk to women in the street,” said the student.

The student was going home from the Aden law college along with two boys and three girls when a group of religious men intercepted them and had a fight with them over “walking and talking” with girls in the street.

In an interview with Gulf News this week, the student, who asked not to be named, said: “When I asked the men why are you doing this, one of them rudely said, ‘Do you want us to wait until you have sex with her in the street?’” (Read on …)

Arbitrary Arrests of Zaidi Clerics Continues

Filed under: Religious, Saada War — by Jane Novak at 4:23 pm on Saturday, June 7, 2008

and as we discussed frequently, arrested Zaidi preachers are often replaced by Salafi preachers and this occurs in Sann’a as well as Sa’ada.

SANA’A, NewsYemen

The Yemeni Organization for Defending Rights and Democratic Freedoms denounced the arrest of a Zaidi preacher on Tuesday in the wake of war in Sa’ada between the government and rebels.

The organization warned that the arrest of Yaser al-Wazeer, the preacher of Al-Shareefa Mosque in Sana’a, “is extremely dangerous and legally baseless measure”.

This campaign of random arrests that mainly targets the Zaidi sect affiliates, clerics, students and rights activists will deepen the danger against social peace, said the organization.

The organization demanded that the security authorities reveal the detention of al-Wazeer and immediately release him. It also urged local and international rights organizations to standby al-Wazeer and to intervene to stop violations, arrests and involuntary disappearances that followed war in Sa’ada.

Second Mosque Attack Kills Six

Filed under: Religious, Saada War, Yemen, land disputes — by Jane Novak at 4:31 pm on Friday, May 30, 2008

Land Dispute: Officials

(CNN) — A man opened fire at a Shiite mosque Friday in northern Yemen, killing six and wounding 12, state-run news agency SABA said. Three are in critical condition, the report said.

The shooter, now in police custody, was identified as Abdullah Saleh Al Qahhali, 24, according to SABA.

It was the second attack this month against Shiites in Yemen. (Read on …)

Religious Police in Yemen: Coming Soon!

Filed under: Biographies, Religious, TI: Internal, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:02 pm on Monday, May 26, 2008

The jihadization of Yemen. If I call it the Talibanization of Yemen, will more people recognize the trend? (Interesting, but not unsurprising, the Minister of Tourism is in there…) Danged good Yemen Times oped:

Gracious are the Yemeni people. They will soon have guards to promote virtue and curb vice. A group of clerics led by Sheikh Abdulmajid Al-Zindani, rector of the Islamic Al-Iman University, recently spoke to President Ali Abdullah Saleh about setting up a national committee for promotion of virtue and prevention of vice. This information was announced recently by Hamud Hashim Al-Tharhi, a leading figure in the Islah party.

Al-Zindani and his fellows alleged that vice and debauchery has dominated the country. According to Al-Tharhi, the committee will involve the Ministers of Culture, Tourism and Information among others.

It has the same orientation as the anti-vice organization operating in Saudi Arabia for decades. While the Saudis are now trying to curb the activities of this organization as a part of their fight against terrorism and religious fanaticism, Yemen is just starting to allow it.

This is the latest invention of Al-Zindani following his allegations of his successful invention of a cure for HIV/AIDS. This man who has been once a cleric in the presidential council representing the Islah party in the then-coalition government is mad for publicity and seeing himself on camera. Following his ousting from the position as head of the Islah party’s Shura Council, he has been frantically trying to keep himself on camera in his effort to remain a public figure. He has been leading protests against the Israeli attacks on Palestinians and protests against the Danish cartoons. (Read on …)

Al-Iman, The TV Station

Filed under: Media, Religious, USA, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:39 am on Sunday, May 25, 2008

Nifty, UN specially designated terrorist Abdulmajid al-Zindani gets his own TV station. The jihadization of Yemen is just rolling along. News websites blocked; jihaddi websites open. Terrorists free; journalists in jail. The US Treasury Department notes al-Zindani as a mentor to bin Laden and a financier of terrorism. Zindani runs al-Iman University that teaches hard core Salifism, and the US has charged that it provides terror training or indoctrination. Alum include John Walker Lind and that French guy, Brigette, among others. Meanwhile the regular journalists are under assault and the broadcast media is monopolized by the state.

SANA’A, NewsYemenMinister of Information Hassan al-Lawzi has issued a decision to establish a religious TV satellite channel called El-Eman according to instructions of president Saleh.

The decision stipulates that the new channel will be run by the Yemeni Corporation for Radio and TV and monitored by a group of scholars from Yemeni Scholars Association, Ministry of Information and Ministry of Endowments and Religious Guidance.

The decision has also determined that the channel’s focus will be the holy Quaran and its sciences; health awareness according to Islamic Sharia; promoting Islamic virtues like justice, equity, cooperation, tolerance and solidarity; and Islamic view towards extremism, terrorism, revenge, disputes and corruption . The channel will also broadcast programs on Islamic civilization and debates on contemporary Islamic issues. Official news agency said the channel will start a trial period of broadcast via Arabsat’s Badr 4 in the coming few weeks.

Endowment Lands Stolen Too, Dialog to Resume: al-Hittar

Filed under: Ministries, Religious, Yemen, land disputes — by Jane Novak at 5:11 pm on Saturday, May 10, 2008

YO

Hamoud al-Hitar
Judge Hamoud al-Hitar, Endowment Minister, said that he will resign if he fails in protecting the endowment lands and property against those who commit transgressions against them. He also said that he enjoys the president’s support at facing the endowment trespassers, whatever influence or authority they have.

Al- Hitar added that none are superior to the law, considering the parliament’s approval of the endowment law and the formation of the supreme endowment council as a big support for the endowment property protection. (Read on …)

60,000 in Sa’ada in Urgent Need of Humanitarian Assistance

Filed under: Religious, Saada War, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:29 am on Thursday, May 8, 2008

SANA’A, NewsYemen :

The International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) said in a new report on situation in Sa’ada during the period from September 2007 to March 2008 that many parts of Sa’ada governorate in Northern Yemen have not yet recovered from four years of conflict between the Yemeni armed forces and the “Believing Youth” fighters.

“More than 60′000 persons are still affected and enduring the consequences of the conflict,” it said. “They are in critical need of humanitarian assistance.”

The ICRC said it maintains its presence in the governorate and it continues to operate in affected areas in cooperation with the Yemen Red Crescent Society (YRCS).

ICRC activities are currently operated by the Sub Delegation in Sa’ada governorate where 11 international and 30 national staff are based. They are working in close cooperation with the Yemen Red Crescent Society (YRCS),” it said.

The ICRC is progressively expanding its activities and boosting its response capacity in different fields in Sa’ada governorate to help meet the acute humanitarian needs of the affected population; the displaced, returnees and vulnerable residents who are giving shelter to the displaced, it said.

It said that from September 2007 to March 2008, the ICRC, in cooperation with YRCS branch in Sa’ada, assisted over 80′000 persons with emergency aids like clean drinking water and health care for people in affected population.

Mareb Press

Fighting in Saada displaced 50 thousand people, report
Topic: Local News

A local report reveals that more than 50 thousand people are homeless, epidemic and infectious disease are spread and many schools are closed as a result of the last war between Houthi rebels and the army in Saada province.

The Human Rights Report for 2007 issued by the Yemeni Observatory for Human Rights says more than 114 buildings including 4 mosques and health centers were transferred to military barracks.

“79 houses were completely destroyed and 74 houses partially destroyed. Also, 5 mosques and 8 schools were partially damaged,” the report added.

According to the report, many members of Zaidi sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam, and al-Houthi supporters were arrested or disappeared.

The report says some 286 people have been lost since the conflict began in 2004 and about 2000 people were arrested in the last war.

The report adds that the detentions were taken place in Sa’ada, Sana’a, Amran, Hajja, Dhammar and Hudeidah. Some 370 people are put in prison for illegal justifications, the report adds.

Some detainees were exposed to psychological and physical torture and humiliating and inhuman treatment. A lot of detainees were put in small and poorly-ventilated prison cells, the report says.

The report points out that Hesham Hajr is one of the victims of violations because the detention bodies refused to transfer him to hospital.

A program of forced conversion:

(Read on …)

16 Killed, 35 Wound in Saada Mosque Bombing

Filed under: Religious, Saada War, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 6:50 pm on Friday, May 2, 2008

Government blames Zaidi rebels. Rebels deny and demand investigation. The rebels have not targeted civilians since war broke out in 2004.

Yemen Online
Sana’a, May 2, 2008 (yemenonline) – A car bomb has killed or wounded dozens of worshippers at a mosque in Sa’ada governorate.

Most of the victims were filing out of the Bin Salman mosque after Friday prayers in the city of Sa’ada.

There were conflicting reports about the cause of the explosion but sources said that the attack targeted a military commander when he was coming out of the mosque.

Sources said that 15 worshipers including two children were killed and that over 40 others were wounded.

Rebels’ leader, Abdulmalik al-Houthi denied that his followers carried out the attack and demanded a nuetral probe to be launched into the attack.

Others said the blast was caused by a booby-trapped motorcycle.

Al-Houthis suspected to be behind mosque blast in Saada, says security official

[02 May 2008]
SANA’A, May 02 (Saba)- Saada Security director brigadier Mohammed al-Qahm affirmed that fingerprints of al-Houthis are evident in the explosion that hit Bin Salman Mosque just after Jummah Prayer.

“The mosque’s preacher is against al-Houthis beliefs,” al-Qahm said to Saba, adding that “the incident was carried out by a booby-trapped motorbike resulting with 9 people killed, out of them a soldier, a child and a woman, and 38 others injured who were taken to a nearby hospital”. (Read on …)

Attacks Against Female Schools

Filed under: Elections, Islah, Religious, Women's Issues, Yemen, political violence — by Jane Novak at 12:43 pm on Saturday, March 22, 2008

Yemen Observer

Principals of all girls’ schools in Sana’a staged a sit-in at the 7th of July school on Wednesday, condemning the attack and at the same time condemning the silence of official authorities and the teachers syndicate about the previous attack that targeted 7th of July school principal Shafia’a al-Seragi. Supporters of al-Seragi said that this silence encouraged the terrorists to launch the second brutal attack.

“Any man that beats a woman, whether she is a teacher, a principal or even an ordinary woman is a coward, as are the officials that close their eyes to violence committed against women,” said the principal of al-Nizari girls’ school.

Three principals of girls’ schools, including al-Seragi, have been attacked in the past two weeks. The three attacked principals are believed to be political and social activists that promote girls’ education and the adoption of new educational methods that prohibit violence in schools.

In addition to the beating of Shafia’a al-Seragi by three men, a principal of a school in Hodeidah was beaten by five women from the Islah Islamic party and also received threats of having her house blown up. A third principal’s car was stolen and had its seats and tires stripped. Her house electricity was cut off by unidentified persons at the same time that the other two female principals were attacked.

Al-Hittar Requests Netherlands Ban Film

Filed under: Ministries, Other Countries, Religious, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:58 pm on Wednesday, March 12, 2008

SANA’A, NewsYemen

Minister of Endowments and Religious Guidance Hamoud al-Hitar has formally demanded the Dutch government ban a film against the Holy Quran a Dutch member of the Parliament intends to release, said Saba.

The official news agency said al-Hitar talked on the issue with Netherlands ambassador of Netherlands Harry Buikema in a meeting on Wednesday, calling for exerting international efforts must be coordinated to prevent defaming religions and religious symbols to avoid tense situations.

Wilders said in an interview with Guardian the film is to be aired in the coming months. He said he has been warned that he may have to leave the Netherlands for his own safety.

Al-Hittar Ready to Cut Ties with Denmark

Filed under: Donors, UN, Ministries, Religious, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 10:12 pm on Monday, March 3, 2008

Earth Times:

Sana’a, Yemen – A Yemeni minister said on Thursday his country could cut diplomatic ties with Denmark if Danish newspapers continue to publish cartoons depicting the Muslim prophet Mohammed in a manner deemed offensive to Islam. “If the Danish government does not stop those extremists who are hurting our prophet Mohammed, we will go beyond cutting economic ties, to cutting diplomatic ties,” Minister of Endowments and Religious Guidance Hamoud al-Hitar said. (Read on …)

Interview with Yahya al-Dailami

Filed under: Religious, Saada War, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:08 pm on Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Yemen Post has good interviews, and this is another interesting one.

Following the eruption of war in Sa’ada between authority and the Believing Youth Organization (BYO) led by Hussein Badr Addin Al-Houthi on June 18, 2004, things got worse. The official campaign was associated with a similar one from some religious streams active in Yemen like the Salafis as head of Salafi Forum Magazine Hasan Abdullah Al-Hashadi believes that BYO is a Shiite movement modeled after Hezbollah Party in Lebanon in all aspects whether politically, economically, socially, culturally or religiously though its followers claim to be Zaidis. Their contact with Iran and Hezbollah prove their propensity to the Twelfthers.

This accusation was accompanied with similar accusations by official authorities as some Zaidi scholars were prosecuted including scholar Yahya Al-Dailimi and suspected Houthi spiritual leader, who adamantly persists on his Zaidi spirit.

Yemen Post reporter Hasan Al-Zaidi interviewed him for the first time since he was sentenced to death, and the ruling was reduced later to ineffective ten years due to the ceasefire agreement between both warring sides.

Yemen Post: Is the ruling against you still effective?

Yahya Al-Dailimi: Yes, it is.

YP: How do you see the reduction of term from capital punishment to a ten-year term?

YD: I do not know exactly; however, this move was prompted by civil activities including demonstrations, sit-ins and petition letters scholars sent to President Saleh as well as requests by international organizations to abate the ruling.

YP: What is your personal stance of the ruling?

YD: It is a politicized one and it aims to signal a message to those who oppose the ruling system and I think it was made because of my demanding political forces to stage peaceful sit-ins in protest against Sa’ada war. (Read on …)

Yemen’s Takfir Pronouncing Parliament

Filed under: Parliament, Religious, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:34 am on Thursday, February 21, 2008

The chairman of the Political Development Forum Ali Saif Hassan expressed his fear that the amount of those persons (MP’s) knowledge of religion as much as their knowledge of the laws. heh

al-Motamar: almotamar.net – Assistant Secretary General of Yemeni Writers Union Ahmed Naji Ahmed warned from rendering the parliament of Yemen for a council for fatwa and accusation of infidelity and said in a symposium that the legal opinions that are unleashed at the parliament might entail terrorist acts.

Mr Ahmed called, in a symposium on Takfir (accusation of infidelity) and its negative impact on the democratic system organized by the Writers Union of Yemen and Al-Mustaqila Forum Wednesday, on the wise people in the parliament to possess a real vision for protection of freedoms. (Read on …)

Open Door

Filed under: Religious, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:34 pm on Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Open Door Watchlist ranks Yemen number 6 in the world in persecution of Christians.

Wahabization of Yemen

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Counter-terror, Religious, Saudi Arabia, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:31 pm on Wednesday, February 20, 2008

And the fatwas against the concert, girls education, and woman’s rights organizations:

And the name of the French researcher is….? From the Yemen Observer:

French researchers have warned of the expansion of Wahabiate Salafis and what they call ‘Saudi Islam’ to Yemen and other Arab countries.

In the second part of the symposium entitled Yemen in its Regional Circumference held at Sana’a University on February 16 and 17, a French researcher attacked Saudi attempts to export its Wahabiate thoughts to Yemen so as to exert its control over this country, adding that the Wahabi sect is a strange and an alien phenomenon in Yemen…. (Read on …)

Yemeni Settlements in Saudi Arabia

Filed under: Religious, Saudi Arabia, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:20 pm on Wednesday, February 20, 2008

MEOL

Saudi Shiites fear demographic balance change

Ismaili Shiites of Najran oppose plans to settle Sunni Muslim Yemenis in southern Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Shiites have asked the authorities to scrap plans to settle Sunni Muslim Yemenis in southern Saudi Arabia to change the demographic balance in an area where they are the majority.

The Ismaili Shiites of Najran, bordering Yemen, say they had successfully petitioned King Abdullah two years ago to halt settlement of up to 10,000 Yemeni tribesmen in housing projects built for them on large tracts of land surrounding Najran city.

But a protest letter sent last month to the governor of Najran province, Prince Mishaal bin Saud, complains of marginalisation and says plans to settle another Yemeni tribe must stop.

“The king and a number of decision-makers promised the citizens of Najran that settlement would stop … it appears that settlement is a deliberate and extensive project,” it says, referring to thousands of Najranis it says have long been overlooked when seeking similar state largesse.

“We received assurances that some issues might be resolved, but others will take time,” said Mohammed Al-Askar, an Ismaili activist involved in drawing up the petition.

Najran is the historic centre of the Ismailis, a Shiite sect which has long complained of victimisation by the prevailing school of Sunni Islam followed by the Saudi state.

Najran was the scene of violent clashes in 2000, when hundreds of Ismailis clashed with police. Ismailis say that was the spur for plans to dilute their presence with Sunnis but that the settlement policy could provoke more social unrest.

The government’s Human Rights Commission has said previously it is looking into the Najran issue.

“We really do not know much about what’s going on,” said Turki al-Sudairy, head of the official body on Monday. “I’m not sure what information to believe. We don’t have a man there.”

An Interior Ministry official declined to comment.

Ismailis are thought to form a large majority in the remote region whose population was put at 420,000 in a 2004 census.

On a recent trip to the region, large billboards signed in the name of Yemeni tribal leaders had been erected to thank the local governor and senior Saudi royals for funding some of the housing projects – prim towns with grid street designs, one storey villas, street lighting and electricity.

“It’s a form of racial discrimination. We don’t have services,” said Said, 30, pointing to a map on the wall of a deserted office outlining plans for new housing units.

“There are families here who cannot get a new house or a legal deed to the land they live on. Even the children of the newcomers are given pieces of land.”

Fatwas

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Islah, Religious, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:19 am on Saturday, February 9, 2008

Yemen Post

Valentine’s Day was different this year, as the country witnessed a large campaign by preachers calling the celebration of the day forbidden. The controversy grew as Valentine’s Day this year was made special with the visit of famous Syrian-Bahraini Singer Asalah Nasri, however, it caused Al-Qaeda to issue its first threats connecting to Valentine’s Day.

In a message released few days before staging Aden’s 1st Artistic Festival, Al-Qaeda Organization in Yemen issued a message threatening Asalah with assassination in case she rejects their warnings and comes to sing. However, the message spoke not about her fellow singing partner Egyptian singer Essam Kariuka.

‘Your fate will be the same as that of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto,’ said the message adding that they are against perversion which opposes the true spirit of Islam.

Al-Qaeda warnings caused Nasri’s family to worry about her safety and some advised her not to go. They also caused Aden’s local authorities to tighten security measures and to make Nassri cut her singing concert short.

The concert was timed with Valentine Day Celebrations and perhaps the organizers intentionally considered this fact in mind during their preparations for the festival. (Read on …)

Stubborn Woman to Sing in Aden

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Civil Rights, Religious, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 11:10 pm on Monday, February 4, 2008

Mareb

Two new Yemeni Tv channels, Saba and Al Yamaniah, will transmit live the concert of the Syrian singer Asalah Nasri from Aden tonight at 9 pm, said official sources.

Organizers of the concert confirmed to Mareb press that buying tickets to attend the concert of the famous Arab diva has remarkably increased despite earlier warnings and death threats by extremists who look at arts and music as forbidden.

The organizers expected about fifty thousand people and fans to attend the concert to be held by the Syrian singer Asalah Nasri and the Egyptian singer Esam Karika tonight in the coastal city of Aden south of Yemen.

Upon her arrival to Aden Wednesday, Asalah said 50 per cent her money from the concert would go for people of Ghaza and the cancer patients in Yemen.

In a press conference, she said her art was sublime for feeding the spirit and it was unfair to put all artists in one basket, in an obvious reference to earlier statements by Islamists who considered her concert as b a call for vice.

She confirmed that she had insisted to hold this concert despite death threats because she is “stubborn woman since childhood”.

In addition to warnings and threats released in Yemen before her arrival, she had received four emails threatening to kill her if she came to Yemen to hold the concert but she challenged them.

The threat emails considered the concert as a call for vice and pornography, she said.
However, she did not hide the worry and fear caused by her mother and her children who wanted her not to go to Yemen after they heard about the threats.

She said she came with good impression in her mind about Yemen and people of Yemen. “My love to Yemen was also behind my insistence to come to hold this concert”.

The message of her art, she said, is the peace and love to the whole world, mentioning the Yemeni singer Abu Bakr Salem and Lebanese singer Fayrooz as her teachers and models.

The moderation should be the real mission of art, a lot of artists practice their religious rituals, she said.

ADNKI:

Sanaa, 11 Feb. (AKI) – A Yemeni al-Qaeda cell has threatened Syrian- Bahraini singer Asala Nasri with death if she performs in the Yemeni city of Aden on 14 February for Valentines Day, reported Arab TV network, al-Arabiya.

“Your fate will the same as former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto”, said the message.

“We ask all Yemenis to oppose the concert and we confirm that al-Qaeda will not allow it [the concert] to go through.”

The statement referred only to the 38-year-old Syrian singer, but not to his singing partner, the Egyptian Isam Karika, who was slated to sing with her on stage.

“We will not allow the corruption of our society. This is how we will save our youth from these depravations, which are contrary to Islam” said the message.

The threat comes despite efforts by local authorities to downplay the threats and condemnation by Islamic parliamentary authorities in Yemen.

Three months ago, a group of Yemeni Ulema or Islamic scholars, issued a fatwa or religious edict which banned music concerts in the country.

Among the signatories of this fatwa is one of the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood in Yemen, Abdel Majid al-Zindani.

Asala Nasri has a prominent career and has composed 20 music albums and is now married to Palestinian-American director Tarek al-Eryan.

Her Bahraini citizenship was reportedly granted to her by Bahrain’s King Hamad Bin Issa Al Khalifa, following a concert in celebration of Bahrain’s independence day.

70% Jihaddist Recidivism Rate on Yemeni Religious Dialog Program

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Counter-terror, Religious, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 6:52 pm on Thursday, January 31, 2008

This article is about Saudi Arabia’s religious re-education program, and notes the Yemeni one was a failure.

BBC

According to Dr Mustafa Alani, director of security at the Gulf Research Centre, “around 3,000 jihadists are being targeted under the scheme”.

“They are not the real hardliners but they are still members of al-Qaeda-inspired cells who could otherwise become fighters.”

Dr Alani says that a similar scheme in Yemen has largely failed, with 70% of supposedly reformed jihadists who were released getting re-arrested for terrorist offences. In Saudi Arabia, he says, the re-arrest figure is just 5-7%.

Judge Hamoud al-Hittar, who ran the program, reportedly came out of the security forces. Al-Hittar is currently the head of the well funded Endowments Ministry.

Op-eds Aposty, Treason

Filed under: Media, Religious, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:40 pm on Sunday, January 20, 2008

Yemen Times

President Saleh direct military and security servants to maintain a high level of vigilance against conspirers and traitors

Without naming particular agencies or people, President Ali Abdullah Saleh renewed its warnings to servants of the military and security institutions to maintain a high level of vigilance against those whom he called “conspirers, traitors and mercenaries”, the independent weekly reported. It added that Saleh sent a letter to senior officials at the defense and interior ministers, as well as military and security staff, on the advent of the New Training Year, telling them to prepare themselves for the new package of training.

“You the heroes, and proofs in testimony of your being heroes are available before you, please take care of yourselves and your institutions. There are malicious conspirers who preferred to trigger animosity toward the national institutions and Yemeni people at the expense of national development and progress,” Saleh said in his letter addressed to military and security staff. “Those conspirers and traitors will never stop their hostile operations although you did defeat them, nor will they make use of the lessons related with your bravery and their cowardliness.”

Saleh added that conspirers against Yemen’s unity, security and stability, are continuing their malicious plots during daytime and overnight, in private and in public. “These elements are playing with their tails with the aim of harming the military and security institutions and spreading chaos in the safe country,” the paper quoted Saleh as saying.

The state run Al-Thawra says demanding rights = aposty

With regard to the AIDS, which here stands for political malice and giving priority to personal gains, it will destroy the body if it had proliferated throughout the body (nation). And if there is some medicine for curing this epidemic, it will be difficult to get rid of unless the nation is divided into smaller parts. This is why the best mean for dealing with this epidemic is the preventive measures.

One of the prevention measures is confining those infected with this virus in order not to communicate to others, and the situation necessitates hard work to make available isolated places for those infected with the virus, as there is no hope in the present time for treating it.

In this context, the national interest requires quick action against all the political parties and forces that are infected with malice in this manner, and this action should include all the newspapers and journalists infected with this virus.

Those who advocate apostasy under the pretext of citing some infringements and violations are infected with the political HIV, as damaging the national unity may help increase such infringements and violations. And, those who instigate chaos and violence under the guise of price hikes are infected with the political HIV too, as chaos will only help prices to skyrocket.

Very Young Yemeni Murders Four Iraqi Soldiers in Iraq

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Iraq, Religious, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 10:29 am on Monday, January 7, 2008

New York Times:

BAGHDAD — As jubilant Iraqi soldiers celebrated Army Day by dancing and chanting anti-insurgent slogans inside a downtown office building here on Sunday, a suicide bomber tried to shove his way through the gate.

When four Iraqi soldiers moved to block the bomber from entering, he detonated his explosive vest, killing at least the four soldiers and wounding at least six people, according to the Iraqi police and military officials. There were differing accounts of the death toll, with some saying as many as 11 had been killed, but they could not be confirmed.

“The suicide bomber was very young,” said an Iraqi police officer who declined to be identified because he was not allowed to speak to the news media. “We found his severed head, and we found a Yemeni identification card near the rest of his body.”

A military officer with the 11th Iraqi Army Division who also spoke on condition of anonymity praised the four soldiers’ sacrifice. “If they had allowed him to enter the building, even more people would have been killed,” the officer said.

The Iraqi authorities said they suspected that the bomber was sent by Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, a mostly homegrown insurgent group that American intelligence agencies say has foreign leadership. Many of the group’s suicide bombers have been recruited abroad and smuggled into Iraq from neighboring countries.

Arrested for Religious Celebration

Filed under: Civil Unrest, Religious, Saada War, Security Forces, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 10:28 am on Thursday, January 3, 2008

Yemen Org of Defending Rights and Democratic is warning of the danger of expressing acts that some men of the security force is doing because of the celebration of Al-Ghadeer, some of the security in Sana’a Alqadeema province has detained eight people claiming they have a papers and fire works, the eight are:
1. Abdulla Zaid Al-Mutawakel.
2. Esshaq Mutaher Al-Kohlani.
3. Yahyh Yahua AlKohlani.
4. Mohammed Abdul-Rahman Al-Hadi
5. Mohammed Abdul-Kareem Al-Hadi.
6. Ali Hussain Sharaf Aldeen.
7. Abdul-Ghanni Al-Marwani.
8. Abdulla Al-Warrafi.
The Org is denouncing these violations that conflict with the lows of Constitution and International agreements, and called these violations against the belief and religion because Al-Ghadeer is religious occasion to Zaidism, as the Org denouncing the most serious violation that presented in the refusal of releasing the accused prisoners, it is very the non seriously of applying the lows of Constitution, which applying the low is the way to protect rights and freedom.
The Yemen Org is accusing this violation of the lows, and warning that this acts no good because it expected in this period to released prisoners, wither in Sa’da war or the political reasons or those who were detained in illusory charges.
The Org announcing that it is responsible of giving the rights back, also that it is ready to begin a new campaign in the begging of 2008 demanding of releasing the prisoners wither the accused in Sa’da war or those in the objections in the south provinces, and take all the political prisoners cases in considerion.
Published of Yemen Org of Defending Rights and Democratic .

Muftah Attacked and Detained

Filed under: Political Opposition, Religious, Saada War, Security Forces, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 10:26 am on Thursday, January 3, 2008

A statement Of the Aggression on the Scholar Mohammed Moftah, and Demanding Releasing Him.

Yemen Organization of Defending Rights and Freedom is denouncing the violation that he was exposed to the Zaidien Scholar Mohammed Meftah from the Central security’s men, on 28 th December 2007, and detain him in the Security of Sana’a province, in Raodha St till moment.
The men of Central Security attached his car after his participation in commemorate the Ghadeer in the Hatarish area in Bani Heshesh. They tried to beat him, but the National Security intervenes not to, some of National Security men were injured defending scholar Mohammed Meftah’s safety.
The Organization send the National Security their regards, in the same time the Organization denounced the Central Security reacts, and demand all the Orgs and Institutions that concerned in Human Rights to intervene in releasing him immediately and exert pressure on making a fair investigation in that occurrence, as the Org demanding all the Orgs and Institutions to make a stable and serious position toward these detentions that threaten the freedom of expressions and religion to the generation of Zaidism believers, these threatens that conflict with the lows and roles and international agreements that accepted from Republic of Yemen.
Published of Yemen Org of Defending Rights and Democratic Freedoms.
Thursday 27th December 2007.

Amnesty International Year End Report 2006: • Zaidi clerics Yahia al-Dailami and Mohamed Miftah, both outspoken critics of the US-led invasion of Iraq, were released in May apparently after receiving presidential pardons. The former had been sentenced to death after an unfair trial in 2005, the sentence later being commuted by the President to a prison term. The latter had been serving an eight-year prison term. Both were prisoners of conscience. Muhammad ‘Ali Luqman, a Zaidi judge serving a 10-year prison sentence, was also pardoned by the President and released in May.

Sa’ada

Filed under: Counter-terror, Presidency, Religious, Saada War, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:53 pm on Sunday, December 23, 2007

If it looks like a duck and walks like a duck, then maybe its a duck. But then again, how totally absurd and contrary to the prevailing view.

Yemen Times:

In turn, parliamentarian Yahya Badr Adin Al-Houthi accused the Yemeni government of conspiracy aiming at eradicating the Zaidi sect as well as facilitating Al-Wahabiah task to control situations.

He also revealed that this big campaign extend from Al-Sharafain, district west of Hajja to east of Al-Jawf governorate, where it failed, with government forces sustaining heavy defeats.

Yahya Al-Houthi also accused the government of receiving outside support to continue fighting against the Houthis in Sa’ada, hinting that there is a plan to eradicate Zaidis from Yemen.

Al-Houthi’s accusations against the government continue where he explains that the government killed thousands of soldiers throughout Sa’ada war to get rid of them. A number of Al-Houthi loyalists sworn that they witnessed mountain-paths full of killed soldiers.

They want an autonomous region in exchange for no attacks. It may be the only defense against Ali Mohsen, however in rejecting federalism in the South, the regime is limiting its options in the North.

According to high sources, Sana’a News Press said earlier this week that the president, who visited Germany last week for medical tests, met secretly with the political leader of the Al-Houthi group, Yahya Badr Adin Al-Houthi, who has been in Germany since he left his home country. The source also said the arrangements and communications were run last few weeks with the Qatari government and other regional parts aiming at bringing the president Ali Abdullah Saleh and Yahya Al-Houthi together. They also aim at promptly relieve tension and to cease an impending fifth war in Sa’ada.

The success of efforts and negotiations depends on concessions from both-sides. Government concessions consist of leaving an area with tribal influence of Houthis in many districts in Sa’ada. This is in return for giving guarantees ensuring that Houthis do not go with temptations to resume war, handing over heavy weapons while keeping light and medium-sized weapons for self-defense, according to the same sources. Houthis are to decide whether to live in Doha, capital city of Qatar or not. However, this choice may be excluded from the new agreements, especially when the authority is willing to grant them tribal and religious influence over two districts as yet unidentified.

Population Explosion in Yemen

Filed under: Children, Education, Religious, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:50 pm on Sunday, December 23, 2007

I’ve seen estimates of 50 million by 2050, but that may be based on optimum reproduction rates. If things stay the way they are, apparently its 90 million by 2045. But thats what happens when girls get married at 14 and have an average of seven kids.

SANA’A, Dec. 15 — In the Fourth National Conference for Population Policy, held under the theme, “Toward further implementation of a population policy,” participants stressed the necessity of providing family planning and reproductive health services in all health care centers.

Some of the papers reviewed warned against the risk of increased population growth, indicating that UN estimates show that if population growth in Yemen continues to increase at the present rate, the population will increase from its current 22.4 million to 29.9 million in 2015, then to 43 million in 2025, 62 million in 2035 and 90 million in 2045, finally reaching 108.6 million in 2050. However, the reports mentioned that if Yemen achieves the national population policy goals, estimated population growth will decline by 7 million in 2025, 16 million in 2035, and 49 million in 2050, accomplishing a balance between population growth and available resources and allowing Yemen to achieve its millennium objectives.

Studies also indicated that the annual 3 percent population growth rate is one of the key challenges facing development efforts. They also showed that Yemen is categorized as one of the least developed countries in human resource, ranked 174 out of 184 countries. According to the studies, poverty levels have progressively increased, from 19 percent in 1992 to 34 percent in 1999, and lastly 34.4 percent in 2005.

They also advised utilizing resolutions of free of charge health care units in addition to family planning consultations, encouraging women to breastfeed babies naturally, and increasing efforts to increase society awareness about prenatal care. (Read on …)

60% of Men are Against the Quota

Filed under: Presidency, Religious, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:41 pm on Thursday, December 13, 2007

al-Motamar

70% of Yemeni women support electoral quota system
Sunday, 09-December-2007
almotamar.net – An opinion poll published Sunday in Sana’a revealed that about 70% of Yemeni woman support a legal text obliging political parties in Yemen to allocate a defined proportion for women in the parties local elections.

Supporting that was 40% of men and refused it 29% of females and 59% of males.

Regarding general elections more than 68% preferred a law or an agreement document among political parties compelling them making the 15-30 % of parties candidates from women. A law of this kind was supported by around 40%, while refusing specification of a proportion of female candidates in political parties was refused by around 58% of men and 29% of females.

The opinion poll conducted by the Yemeni Opinion Poll Centre (YPC) indicated that allocation of 15% for the woman in election needs more efforts for enlightening the society about it in coincidence with legislative texts and mechanisms contributing in empowering the woman to the right of the quota.

The constitutional amendments proposed by President Ali Abdullah Saleh last September with the aim of developing the political system in Yemen included allocation of 15% for the woman in the general elections for membership the parliament and to be stipulated in a law.

The opinion poll sample included 334 Yemeni employees from both sexes over the age of 18 years, among them married and unmarried women distributed over 31 constituencies in governorates of Sana’a, Aden, Ibb and Hadrmout.

Yemeni Authorities Issued Counterfeit Visas: Pilgrams

Filed under: Religious, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, counterfeiting — by Jane Novak at 4:45 pm on Tuesday, December 11, 2007

SANA’A, NewsYemen

Saudi authorities in Al-Tiwal outlet have prevented 52 Yemenis from entering the holy lands to perform pilgrimage (Haj) in Mecca.

Saudi authorities claimed the visas were false, sources told NewsYemen.

After we received entry visas from Yemeni authorities, the Saudi authorities alleged they visas are counterfeited, said one of the pilgrims Mohammed Sufian al-Homaiqani. He said that he and other 51 pilgrims hold visas approved by Saudi authorities.
Source at the Saudi embassy in Sana’a to NewsYemen it offered some Yemeni pilgrims favoritism “Mujamala” visas, according to Saudi system, however, it did not talk about visas falsification. It preferred to wait to understand what happened.

Revising Jihad

Filed under: Religious, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:12 am on Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Kiling people based on nationality or sect violates Sharia says al-Qaeda’s first jurist and founder of Egyptian Islamic jihad. That’s a step in the right direction. Wanton random slaughter is not holy.

London, Asharq Al-Awsat-: Egyptian Islamist Osama Ayyub, a political refugee in Germany and head of the Islamic Center in Munster, which advocates the Islamic Jihad ideology, has revealed to Asharq Al-Awsat that there have been a number of attempts to carry out [ideological] revisions by Islamic Jihad leaders in Egyptian prisons.

He said that these attempts preceded the release of “The Rationalization of Jihad in Egypt and the World Today,” which is a book written by Dr Fadl, who is also known as Sayyid Imam Abdulaziz al-Sharif.

Dr Fadl is the founder of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad group and is Ayman al-Zawahiri’s first mentor.

Ayyub was born in 1966. He belongs to the Bani-Suwayf group and is the former religious head of Bayt al-Ansar in Peshawar. He described Islamic Jihad revision as “a turning point on the road toward ideological revision, which the Islamic movement is pursuing today.” The revision document, which Al-Misri Al-Yawm is publishing, and of which Asharq Al-Awsat received a copy of its first part, stresses that “the performance of jihad for the sake of God has included several Islamic Shariaa violations, foremost among which is the killing of people on the basis of nationality, color of skin and hair, and sect.” The document says that “these violations lead to nothing but God’s resentment and indignation.” It adds that “when a Muslim sets a goal for himself that exceeds his ability or that does not suit his situation then it is impermissible in Islam to use any illicit means to achieve this goal even if the goal itself is legitimate.”

The following is the text of the interview with Osama Ayyub over the Internet:

Asharq Al-Awsat: How do you view the revisions conducted by the Islamic Jihad?

Ayyub: The revisions conducted by the Islamic Jihad derive their importance from the fact that they were drawn up by the first person to lay down the principles of jihadist ideology in the world. He is the author of “The Mainstay of Preparation for Action” on the doctrine of jihad. No other such books have been written for over half a century. No other scientific publication on jihad has been issued except for Sheikh Muhammad Abdul-Salam Faraj’s booklet “The Absent Duty,” which includes some head notes on jihad. Many people in Egypt, such as Engineer Ismail Nasr, head of the Islamic Jihad’s civil organization and a main defendant in the so-called “the heralds of victory” case joined the Islamic Jihad because of “The Rationalization of Jihad.” Also, many salafists, such as Sharif Hazza, the writer of the book “Ignorance is the Excuse,” joined the Islamic Jihad for the same reason. These people found in Fadl’s book a great scientific reference that answers many doubtful issues.

Asharq Al-Awsat: Was Dr Fadl the first to begin the revisions?

Ayyub: No. As far as I know, there have been attempts inside prisons by Engineer Ismail Nasr and Sheikh Nabil Naim, who presented some ideas in his book entitled “Visualization.” In 2001, I issued a call in this regard which gained the support of Sheikh Ahmad Yusuf, the emir of the Bani-Suwayf group; Sheikh Nabil al-Mughrabi, who was sentenced to two life terms in prison; and the Khan al-Khalili case group. Lawyer Saad Hasaballah conveyed their support at that time. However, when Dr Fadl moved from Yemen to Egypt in 2004 and met with the brothers inside prisons, the vast majority of Islamic Jihad prisoners, both leaders and members, joined Sheikh Fadl, including many of those who had been hesitant. According to my knowledge, Sheikh Fadl definitely has a great influence on everyone who associates with him.

Asharq Al-Awsat: Do the recent revisions fall within the framework of a deal between the Islamic Jihad and the Egyptian Government?

Ayyub: These words are illogical and those who say this have poor knowledge of Dr Fadl’s personality. He is a religious scholar and not a politician. He is a skillful surgeon and was awarded a masters degree in medicine with distinction. If he was seeking worldly gains, he would not have given up all the money and prestige he could have enjoyed. His writings and words are governed by Islamic Shariaa proofs and by the interests of Muslims. Moreover, those who supported Sheikh Fadl’s revisions, such as Abu-Khalid al-Dabit, Abdulaziz al-Jamal, Nabil Na’im, and others, have a long history of giving and enjoy great credibility among Jihadists.

Asharq Al-Awsat: Do you believe that the Al-Qaeda will respond to these revisions?

Ayyub: Of course it will respond within the next few weeks. However, it will be a very well-calculated response, because the Al-Qaeda Organization is well aware of who Sheikh Fadl is and of his weight. Many zealous youth have perhaps made hasty responses without reading Sheikh Fadl’s book. As for Al-Qaeda, it knows who Dr Fadl is, because he was its first jurist. Dr Ayman had responded in a videotape recording to the facsimile message that was sent by Dr Fadl to Asharq Al-Awsat, but his only comment was that the revision document was issued from inside prisons. Dr Fadl responds to this uncertainty at the end of his book, as you will read in “The Rationalization of Jihad.”

Clerics United

Filed under: Civil Unrest, Religious, South Yemen, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:26 pm on Friday, November 23, 2007

Sana’a, NewsYemen

Ninety Yemeni clerics have decided to mediate to solve dispute between political elites and give them advices to avoid current crises.

The senior clerics, including Abdul-Majid al-Zindani, head of Al-Eman religious university, Mohammed Ismael al-Amrani, Abdul-Wahab al-Dailami and Mohammed al-Sadiq Moghales, have confirmed in a statement the right of people to ask for their legal rights according to constitution and laws.

They have supported other statements released by clerics in Hadhramout condemning latest events Yemen has witnessed, especially in southern provinces and a statement by Yemeni Clerics Association regarding events in Saada, north of Yemen.

The statement of so-called Yemeni Clerics Forum, signed by ninety clerics, called upon all Yemeni clerics “to hold a symposium to discuss current situations in the country and showing religious duty towards such events”.

The clerics have formed a preparatory committee for the symposium and assigned some clerics to contact with senior officials and leaders of political parties to listen to their visions about the current crisis and give them advices to avoid disputes and unite efforts to save the country’s interests.

The country is witnessing bad situations that encumber people and political disputes that threaten Yemen’s unity and its present and future, said the statement. It pointed that Yemen also faces foreign menaces that target its security and stability, as it said.

We have to refer to the Holy Qura’a and the Sonna of prophet Mohammed to keep our unity and spread religious brotherhood amongst Yemeni people, said the clerics, praying to God to keep for Yemenis their religion, unity, security and stability.

Protests, Fatwa for Reform, Threats on Tawakkol Karaman

Filed under: Civil Unrest, Religious, South Yemen, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:52 am on Thursday, November 15, 2007

LAHJ, Nov. 11 — Thousands of people took to the streets in Lahj city, demanding concerned authorities to immediately arrest those suspected of murdering a policeman, Majed Mohsen Ali Al-Rawaisi, who was shot dead in Dhamar last June.

Release of the accused murderers provoked rage and resentment among citizens in the victims’ home district, who considered it an act of negligence and indifference on the part of security authorities against the murder of their local, who was doing his security job. The government’s behavior compelled district locals to demonstrate, claiming leadership of Dhamar Security Department and the local authority to immediately capture the perpetrators and transfer them to the judiciary.

The enraged protestors blocked the Sana’a-Aden Highway, burned tires and moved rocks to the road, thereby causing traffic jams for many hours. They also raised banners on the road, demanding that concerned authorities recapture the accused and hold accountable those who freed them.

Many demonstrators opened fire at cars trying to pass through side roads and forced them to park aside. The situation compelled many cars loaded with qat leaves to detour onto rough roads, where two public transportation vehicles turned over.

Military and security troops deployed on the scene quietly dealt with the protestors, fearing confrontations with them. Receiving promises from security authorities to fulfill their demands, the protesters then unblocked the highway.

In Hajja, more than ten thousand citizens around the governorate gathered in a rally, chanting slogans against the government and ruling party and asking them to fulfill promises made by President Saleh in his electoral platform prior to his reelection last year.

“People strongly reject the government’s fabricated reasons to justify price hikes and insist on it to fulfill the promises it made,” demonstration spokesmen said, listing various issues and concerns in the governorate, especially rampant corruption in government offices and the tragedies that take place at the Yemeni-Saudi border.

According to the spokesmen, locals in Hajj try to cross the border into Saudi Arabia to escape poor living standards in their homeland, but face severe abuse and attacks at the border. Hajja protestors vented their anger at the government over poor education and high school dropout rates, coupled with deteriorating healthcare in their governorate. They complained that the Hajja-based Saudi hospital is overloaded with patients, exceeding its capacity due to the unavailability of health units or government hospitals in their districts.

“Such situations will never change without popular support,” an Islah Party activist said, indicating that popular interaction with the rally is part of effective action. He clarified that change is not impossible, reminding the assembly of the ruling General People Congress’s promises regarding the ‘New Yemen’. The opposition activist urged the government to put a stop to security violations and misconduct spread throughout judicial agencies.

In Taiz, the Idle Youth Organization was declared on Wednesday. The organization’s preparatory committee said it will organize a huge sit-in at the governorate premises on Nov. 14, along with the Unions Coordination Council and civil community organizations.

“After many years of education, you are now idle in the streets without jobs. Instead of being breadwinners for your families, policy makers in the government insist that you remain dependent on your families and community,” the committee said in a statement addressed to unemployed youth. It added, “Taiz, once the city of science, culture and talent, has turned into a venue for unemployment. Natives of the city are now migrating to other places in search of better incomes to sustain their families.”

The committee demanded that the government suggest a clear recruitment policy and endorse transparency and fair distribution of jobs. It also insisted that the government eradicate bribes and favoritism regarding job distribution, and end unemployment by the end of 2008, according to the promises made by the GPC presidential candidate during his campaign rallies for last year’s elections.

The Yemen Center for Human Rights (YCHR) expressed its concern about the development of demonstrations staged by military and civil retirees in southern and eastern governorates, which are leading the nation to an unprecedented catastrophe, it claims.

According to the YCHR, current military institutions are the primary reason behind a monopoly of power, and is therefore leading the country towards devastating collapse. It confirmed that the Document of Pledge and Accord contained workable solutions to this problem, advocating a fair geographical distribution of military colleges and institutes throughout the nation.

The YCHR mentioned that the country is in urgent need of a comprehensive reform process to rescue the nation from fragmentation. It said that retirees are entitled to hold protests and sit-ins, voice their concerns and enjoy the rights of equal citizenship.

The center condemned the policy of imprisonments, threats and intimidation the regime exercises to subdue protests and crack down on demonstrators. It demanded that the government release the detainees, compensate those whose property was damaged and form an investigative committee with human rights groups known for their independence and neutrality.

The center strongly criticized the liquidation policy, which the regime exercises within military and security institutions to eliminate certain employees, like what has happened to some Taiz locals since the coup attempt planned by the Nasserite Party.

On a side note, Women Journalists Without Chains condemned threats against its chairwoman Tawakul Karaman over her participation in protest rallies in Radfan and Al-Dhale’, as part of the escalated opposition to consequences of Yemen’s civil war in 1994. The organization released a statement saying that Karaman received messages on her cell phone telling her to stay at her home if she wants to live in peace. The messages threatened her and her family, accusing Karaman of trying to damage national unity.

Religious scholars in Aden and Hadramout released a joint statement urging the state to correct its mistakes, review its policy and fulfill people’s legal demands. According to the statement, the state should restore people’s rights, take firm measures against corrupt officials, resolve price hikes, prevent a power monopoly in the country, and fight financial, administrative and judicial corruption.

Circulated by different media, the statement confirmed that Muslims are entitled to claim their legal rights and voice their demands and concerns via peaceful means, apart from rioting or chaos that helps encourage looting of property and embezzlement of public funds.

Signed by 22 religious scholars, the statement warned of underestimating threats of the most recent events that took place nationwide, particularly in the southern governorates. It stated that such events might shake Yemen’s security and stability and do harm to national unity, urging the authority to resolve them.

Southern Protesters Fatwa’ed, Sue

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Religious, South Yemen, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:52 am on Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Yemen Times

Al-Sahwa

Retirees and jobless youths sue mosque preacher

The Coordination Council of Military and Civil Retirees’ Societies and jobless youth associations in the governorates of Aden, Dhale’, Lahj, Abyan, Shabwa, Mahrah and Hadramout, filed a lawsuit against Nasser Al-Shaibani, Preacher of Al-Janad Mosque for instigating security personnel to exercise violence against protestors while giving the Eid sermon, the weekly newspaper reported in its lead story. Filed by the defense-advocate Ali Mahmoud Al-Araziqi to Taiz Appeal Prosecution, the lawsuit demanded investigating the defendant Nasser Al-Shaibani for calling retirees disbelievers.

According to the newspaper, the suit included several charges against Al-Shaibani, who gave a fatwa permitting bloodshed of protestors and demonstrators, who claim their constitutional rights during the Eid sermon before President of the Republic. The retirees societies also threatened to sue a penal action against Al-Shaibani to the UN Security Council.

Same YT issue:

Fatwa against retired soldiers

Local sources confirmed that the associations of the military and civil retirees lodged a lawsuit against the former Endowment minister Naser Al-Shaibani who made Fatwa that retirees are disbelievers and not Muslims any more. This came in a lawsuit presented by the lawyer, Ali. Al-Azraqi to the court of appeal in Taiz province, where Al-Shaibani delivered the Eid’s sermon in Al-Janad Mosque.

Al-Azraqi said that this lawsuit incitement to murder retired soldiers . He also demanded the investigation with Al-Shaibani whose Fatwa resulted in killing four people and injuring another during the Radfan rally.

The lawsuit also discussed that Al-Shaibani in his Fatwa allowed bloodshed of those who protested and staged sit-ins. It further stated that Al-Shaibani considered the retirees’ associations as communistic and aesthetic, which attempt to Christianize and Americanize the Yemeni people.

Incitement among the southern military associations and the Yemeni authorities have caused worries and agitation in the southern provinces. The military retirees’ associations go into confrontations with the security forces as well.

The situation worsens day after day indicating the futile efforts made by president Ali Abdullah Saleh to contain the crisis aggravated more by the confrontations that occurred between the police and the protesters in Radfan on Wednesday. These confrontations ended by detaining some protesters, making the military retirees associations consider them as an insistence of the authority to exacerbate the crisis.

Returned Gitmo Detainee

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Religious, Security Forces, USA, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 10:45 am on Thursday, October 25, 2007

Abu Al-Fida’s little brother vows jihad forever. Al-Fida is preaching in a mosque in Ibb. Al-Hitar’s program to clamp down on extremist preachers apparently only applies to Zaidis.

Yemen Observer

“I’m still a stranger in this world, I’m a new born,” said the 23-year old Sadeq Mohammed Saeed when he arrived home after a long and torturous detainment in Guantanamo Bay detention center. Sadeq was one of four Yemeni men who were returned to their families on October 12, 2007, after spending about six years in the notorious detention camp.

Hours after arriving at his family home in Ibb city, Sadeq was in constant motion; moving about the house to welcome and hug the many visitors and relatives who came to greet him and show him respect. His visitors included ex-Guantanamo detainees, relatives of other detainees and young people who had been to Afghanistan for “Jihad”. Sadeq’s brothers made efforts to introduce him to those who he did not know or those who he no longer remembered.

As a journalist, Sadeq did not want to speak to me at first, but he eventually relented after encouragement from his brothers. With his long beard and smart Yemeni clothing, Sadeq spoke clearly and concisely, focusing on what he referred to as a “letter to the Americans and the world”. According to Sadeq since leaving their families he and his companions had been performing a holy duty, or Jihad, and he vowed that they would continue to do so for as long as they lived. (Read on …)

Yemeni-American Anti-Terrorism Center Denounces Politicized Fatwas

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Other Countries, Religious, South Yemen, USA, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:34 am on Thursday, October 18, 2007

Date: 10/10/2007

To: The United Nations

Subject: The exploiting of the dictatorial regimes to the religious Fatwa to justify the perpetration of war crimes against humanity and the violation of human rights in the Middle East.

To:
Mr. / Ban Ki Moon Secretary-General of the United Nations
Gentlemen / Representatives of the Member States in the United Nations
Gentlemen / Representatives of the Member States in the Security Council

The Yemeni-American Anti Terrorism Center (Y.A.A.T.C) is anxiously watching the public Fatwa of the clerics which instigates by politicians to push the desperate and frustrating young people to implement terrorist operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya, and elsewhere. This is only shattering the lives of innocent civilians and destroys the infrastructure of their countries which lead to the increases of their sufferings.

Therefore, the Yemeni-American Anti Terrorism Center (Y.A.A.T.C) is submitting this letter to you due to the facts and the following reasons:

First: The existing dictatorship regime in Yemen is taking advantage of the Fatwa (religious statement) in its wars against the people of Yemen. Yemen witnessed war one after the other until this day since the regime controlled the country in 17 in July 1978. These wars claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of Yemeni people, destroyed the economy and the infrastructure of the country which guide to present the administrative and the financial corruption. However, this situation is leading to the existence of poor, desperate, and frustrated people, which is adopting violence and counter violence that is prompting to produce terrorism and export it internationally.

Here are some examples that show how the Yemen regime exploited the Fatwa in its wars:

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the Yemeni regime (was known as the Yemen Arab Republic) waged the war on the border areas and the central regions. The regime forced the clerics to issue a religious Fatwa that allowed the regime to kill the opponents and their families and to loot their properties.

In 1994, the Sana’a regime declared a war against its unity partner, the south, and based on the famous Fatwa of Dr. Abdel Wahab Al-Dailmi which permitted the north forces to kill the southern people.

Recently, the regime repeated the same scenario in the war of Sa’dah. We all saw how the clerics issued the Fatwa that allowed the Yemeni army (led by the brother of the president Ali Abdullah Saleh, Brigadier General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar) to kill the civilian people in Sa’dah because they opposed the policy of injustice, oppression, plunder, and tyranny that practiced by the dictatorship regime over three decades.

Second: The dictatorial regimes in the Middle East is taking advantage of the Fatwa to get rid of the opponents, perpetrating the war crimes against humanity, and violating of the human rights in order to control and loot the wealth of the people in the country. Those people who are looking to be free from those dictatorial regimes will not have it, because it will not happen unless the United Nations and the free world help them to remove it.

Third: The dictatorial regimes in the Middle East are financing and supporting the terrorist organization by smuggling the weapons and sending the terrorists to the war zones in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, and elsewhere. However, those dictatorial regimes will not accept any changes towards freedom, democracy, and development, because the change means the end of these regimes.

As the foregoing, (Y.A.A.T.C) requests from the United Nations and the Security Council the following:

Drying the source of terrorism in the Middle East by toppling the dictatorial regimes, especially in Yemen, to assistant the Yemeni people to salvation, liberation, and emancipation of the those regimes, in the context of the international war on terrorism.

Work and communicate with the Organization of the Islamic Conference to reconsider issuing the Fatwa to ensure that the regime will not utilize it which will result in killings and injuries of millions of people in Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, and other as well.

Create an organization that belongs to United Nations to organize the affairs and the relations among the religions in order to build up moral concepts in peoples’ hearts.

Finally, we thank and appreciate the efforts of United Nations to help the oppressed people everywhere on this earth.

Al-Badawi Freed

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Counter-terror, Presidency, Religious, USS Cole, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 3:30 pm on Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Otay. Cole bomber Jamal al-Badawi voluntarily surrendered to Yemeni security forces. I wonder if he is going to be under loose house arrest like Jaber Elbaneh. But its good he’s in some kind of custody. This is a dangerous guy. He escaped from a jail in Aden in 2003 and from a jail in Sana’a in 2006.

From the website of Yemen’s Ministry of Defense (26sep.net):

SANA’A.(26sep.net) – A security source affirmed that Jamal Al-Badawi, a leader in Al Qaeda and an escapee from the political security prison has surrendered himself to the security forces.

The source told “26sep.net” that Jamal Badawi, had escaped from prison twice in the first in Aden and from the political security prison in Sanaa within 23 persons of al-Qaeda members, where he voluntarily surrendered himself.

There’s some kind of deal here. The question is who is getting what.

Update: FREE. Did I call it or what?

SANAA (AFP) — Fugitive Al-Qaeda suspect Jamal al-Badawi, who was convicted for the bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen that killed 17 American sailors, has surrendered to authorities, an official said Tuesday.

A witness in the southern port city of Aden said Badawi had been allowed to return to his home there….A witness in Aden told AFP Tuesday that Badawi had returned to his home there two days ago amid reports in the neighbourhood that authorities had allowed him to go home in return for a pledge not to engage in any violent or al-Qaeda-related activity.

So the 15 year jail term was just a show for the US, among the many shows for the US, because this is a pardon for the killer of seventeen US sailors.

In Yemen, there is no judicial penalty for killing US military personnel either in Yemen or in Iraq. This is not a constraint of public opinion, not an effect of corruption or incompetence, no no, this is the policy and bias of Yemeni state institutions.

Oh yeah, the trial. Bets on the outcome?

AFP Neighbours of Badawi confirmed seeing him at his home.

A source close to security services meanwhile told AFP that Badawi’s surrender had come as a result of negotiations between Yemeni authorities and Al-Qaeda militants in the Arabian Peninsula country.

The authorities are pursuing their hunt for the two other Al-Qaeda prison escapees who are still on the run — Kassem al-Raimi and Nasser al-Wehaishi — who are considered among top militants in the group, the source said.

The government is also trying to start negotiations with them through tribal mediators, the source added, requesting anonymity.

The Yemeni interior ministry had accused the fugitives of masterminding a July 2 suicide bombing in Marib, 170 kilometres (105 miles) east of Sanaa, which killed eight Spanish tourists and two local drivers.

Badawi and the two fugitives are also among some three dozen Yemenis on trial on charges of planning or carrying out attacks for Al-Qaeda.

These include an abortive twin attack in September 2006 on an oil refinery at Marib and petrol storage tanks at the Dhabba terminal operated by the Canadian firm Nexen in southeastern Hadramut province.

A verdict is due on November 7.

Two weeks ago, fourteen scholars including Sheik Abdulmajid al-Zindani issued a fatwa published in Al-Motamar against the Southern protesters, in a move very similiar to the fatwa against the Houthis. Hopefully, this is unrelated to the pardon of Jamal al-Badawi and not a beginning of a replay of the 1994 incidents.

Update from the Empty Quarter:

Dar al Hayat reports that the government was in negotiations with al Badawi for over 9 months. The “informed source” said that Jamal was on the run, living in multiple places until settling in Abyan (Surprise). The source said there is a secret deal between al Badawi and the government, in which he agrees to go back to jail. No further details were released.

Its likely al-Badawi will be in jail for a few months at most and then be quietly released, probably with money, land, a car and possibly a government job. Or it could go the “house arrest” route. But what does al-Badawi gain in return for his cooperation, other than that warm fuzzy feeling that comes along with making Saleh happy? Other releases?

Prayers Against Domestic Enemies

Filed under: Civil Unrest, Presidency, Religious, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:43 am on Monday, October 15, 2007

Al-Motamar:

almotamar.net – President Ali Abdullah Saleh on Friday performed the Eid Al-Fitr prayers at al-Janad Mosque, Taiz governorate. Performing the prayers with the president were senior officials of the governorates of Taiz and Ibb and a host of worshippers.

In his sermon addressed in the Eid Al-Fitr prayers preacher Sheikh Nasser al-Shaibani congratulated the Muslims on the occasion and talked about virtues of Ramadan and the fasting.

Al-Shaibani said “In Ramadan we have learned observed the meaning of discipline and commitment,” and wondered about the some who live on the goodness of the homeland but nevertheless they are ingrate towards it. He called on the people and the public opinion to move courageously against those who want to destroy the homeland, likening Yemen a ship carrying all sons of the homeland and that all should protect it. (Read on …)

Freedom House: Yemen is Not An Electoral Democray

But it does a very good imitation of one.

Yemen Times

Yemen held presidential and local council elections in September 2006. President Ali Abdullah Saleh was reelected with 77 percent of the vote, and his party, the General People’s Congress, overwhelmingly won the municipal elections. The balloting was marred by some violence and opposition accusations of fraud. Serious press freedom violations, including the closure of newspapers and detention of journalists, also accompanied the election season.
(Read on …)

Christianity Spreading in Yemen?

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Religious, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 4:06 pm on Thursday, October 11, 2007

What? The Christians bombed Marib?????

I thought it was the Zionists!!!

Media Line

Yemeni clerics are warning that Christianity is spreading in the country and called on President ‘Ali ‘Abdallah ‘Salih to stop this phenomenon, the Yemeni weekly Al-Ghad reported, according to UPI.

One hundred Muslim clerics convened in the capital, Sana’a, over the weekend. They claimed that approximately 2,000 Yemeni citizens from the old city of Sana’a have recently converted to Christianity as a result of the cooperation of the local citizens with foreigners in executing terror attacks.

The clerics also warned of the spread of dangerous phenomena of deviations and sinful activities. They called on ‘Salih to carry out his religious and moral responsibilities

Arab Sisters Forum Welcomes 15% Quota for Women

Filed under: Civil Society, Elections, Presidency, Reform, Religious, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:52 am on Thursday, October 4, 2007

Me too.

almotamar.net - The Arab Sisters Forum for HUMAN Rights (SAF), one of the most active civil societies in Yemen, welcomed what was included in the president’s initiative regarding allocation of 15% quota for women in the parliament and called on the Joint Meeting Parties not to announce their reservation on that article of the initiative or taking negative stand regarding the women quota in the parliament.

The SAF mentioned it has received with interest the presidential initiative announced by president of the republic on 24 September 2007 whose 8th article included adoption of a positive allocation of 15% in parliament for women and to be stipulated in the election law. (Read on …)

Lawsuit Against Official Paper Countered

Filed under: GPC, Islah, Media, Religious, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:07 pm on Sunday, September 30, 2007

Yemen Observer:

Samir Rashad al-Yousefi, Editor-in-Chief of the al-Jomhoria newspaper has called for the prosecution of the opposition Islah Party for abandoning Islamic values, which call for unity, brotherhood, and non-discrimination.

Al-Yousefi’s comments come after Islah declared it would start legal proceedings against him and his newspaper after he wrote an opinion article under the title of the Separaist Pretext of Islah in which he said that the main aim of the Islah is to gain power, even if allied with the devil, at the expense of any religious principles or values, whether religious or secular.

“What I wrote in the article is just my viewpoint and Islah should accept that in the context of freedom of opinion and not resort to the courts,” al-Yousefi said. (Read on …)

3000 Suspected Houthi Sympathizers Still in Jail

Filed under: Presidency, Religious, Saada War, Security Forces, Yemen, prisons — by Jane Novak at 8:12 am on Thursday, September 27, 2007

500 ordered released, 67 actually released – either the executive branch is being duplicitous or it has no control over its security forces

The 2006 mediaiton agreement was never implemented by the state. The announcment of the 630 Houthi detainees released in 2006 was a) bogus and b) an incomplete tally

Regime mediators still in jail

Zaidi prisoners denied freedom of religion, punished for keeping to the Zaidi timeframe for breaking their fast

The conflict will likely re-erupt, like the last two times, for the same reasons as the last two times, and neither Iran nor Libya will be to blame.

Yemen Times:
SA’ADA, Sept 26 — Despite the meditation by the government of Qatari and demands from international human rights organisations, over 3000 members of Al-Houthi are still in prison. Some of the detainees have been in detention for more than 18 months.

The detainees, who are kept in political security prisons around the republic, are accused of anti-state acts and support of Al-Houthi insurgents in the northern governorate of Sa’ada. (Read on …)

Religious Crackdown

Filed under: Civil Rights, Religious, Saada War, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:50 am on Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A) a crackdown on Houthism and the broader Zaidi community not neo-Salafi JIhaddism

B) it may be politically motivated but it is percieved as discrimination

Asia News:

Sana (AsiaNews) – Unauthorised schools and religious centres closed, sermons of radical imam’s carefully monitored the celebration of certain feasts banned and mosque opening hours reduced. This is all taking place in Yemen, as part of a government clamp down to counter the activities of Islamic extremists.

In drawing a picture of the Yemeni government’s actions the Yemen Times reveals that the main targets are small Shiite groups, affiliated to al-Haq, who have been closed down because they were unauthorised.

Public tension re-emerged in January 2007, most notably in the media, as a result of government action against the al-Houthi group’s armed insurrection, liked to Twelver Shi’ism, an historic messianic variant of Shia Islam which follows the teachings of Hussein Badr Eddine al-Houthi, killed during a ten-week rebellion that he led in June 2004 against the Government in Saada. (Read on …)

USSD Report on Religious Freedom in Yemen

Filed under: Religious, USA, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:54 pm on Sunday, September 23, 2007

State Dept

Although relations among religious groups continued to contribute to religious freedom, there were some reports of societal abuses and discrimination based on religious belief or practice. There were isolated attacks on Jews and some prominent Zaydi Muslims felt targeted by government entities for their religious affiliation. Government military reengagement in the Saada governorate caused political, tribal, and religious tensions to reemerge in January 2007, following the third military clash with rebels associated with the al-Houthi family, who adhere to the Zaydi school of Shi’a Islam.

Not just prominent Zaidis

During the reporting period, the Government engaged in efforts to ease religious tension between it and some members of the Zaydi-Shi’a establishment; however, public tension reemerged in January 2007, most notably in the media, as a result of government action against the al-Houthi group’s armed insurrection. The Government maintains that the al-Houthis are adherents of Twelver Shi’ism, a variant of Shi’ism which differs from that of the country’s predominant Zaydi-Shi’a. The al-Houthis and the Shabab follow the teachings of the late rebel cleric Hussein Badr Eddine al-Houthi, who was killed during a ten-week rebellion that he led in June 2004 against the Government in Saada. Some Zaydis reported harassment and discrimination by the Government because they were suspected of sympathizing with the al-Houthis. However, it appears the Government’s actions against the group were probably politically, not religiously, motivated.

Government actions to counter an increase in political violence in Saada restricted some practice of religion. In January 2007, for the third year, the Government banned the celebration of Ghadeer Day (a holiday celebrated by Shi’a Muslims) in parts of the Saada governorate. During the reporting period, the Government also reportedly intensified its efforts to stop the growth of the al-Houthis’ popularity by limiting the hours that mosques were permitted to be open to the public. The Government closed down what it claimed to be extremist Shi’a religious institutes, reassigning imams who were thought to espouse radical doctrine, and increasing surveillance of mosque sermons. The Government abolished the Zaydi-affiliated al-Haq political party in March 2007, reportedly for not meeting political party law requirements. Many members of the party, however, believed the party was inappropriately dissolved because of its links to the al-Houthis and Shabab movement.

During the reporting period, the Government continued its efforts to prevent the politicization of mosques and schools, and to curb extremism, and increase tolerance. The Government’s efforts concentrated on monitoring mosques for sermons that incite violence or other political statements that it considered harmful to public security. Private Islamic organizations could maintain ties to international Islamic organizations; however, the Government sporadically monitored their activities through the police and intelligence authorities.

During the reporting period, the Government also continued efforts to close unlicensed schools and religious centers. By the end of the period covered by this report, more than 4,500 unlicensed religious schools and institutions were closed. The Government expressed concern that these schools deviated from formal educational requirements and promoted militant ideology. The Government also deported some foreign students found studying in unlicensed religious schools. The Government prohibited private and national schools from teaching courses outside of the officially approved curriculum. The purpose of these actions was to curb ideological and religious extremism in schools.

There were reports that both the Ministry of Culture and the Political Security Office (PSO) monitored and sometimes removed books that espoused Zaydi-Shi’a Islamic doctrine from store shelves after publication. There were also credible reports from Zaydi scholars and politicians that authorities banned the publishing of some materials that promoted Zaydi-Shi’a Islam. The Government denied that the media was subject to censorship by any security apparatus.

During the reporting period, security officials arbitrarily arrested and detained some individuals suspected of proselytizing. There was also a credible newspaper report that claimed security officials harassed and detained a Muslim carrying missionary publications in Taiz. Unconfirmed reports attributed such incidents to followers of conservative Salafi Islamic doctrine within the security apparatus.

Since 2001 the Government has detained several hundred Islamists who returned to Yemen from Afghanistan and/or Iraq “for questioning.” Although most persons were released within days, some reportedly continued to be detained beyond the maximum detention period as terrorist or security suspects.

In May 2006 President Saleh pardoned two imams, Yahia Hussein al-Dailami, who was sentenced to death, and Muhammed Ahmad Miftah, who was sentenced to 8 years imprisonment. The two were originally convicted of establishing contacts with Iran for the purpose of harming the country. The two men publicly opposed the Government’s action in Saada and formed the Sana’a Youth Organization, a Zaydi religious-based group that supported the al-Houthis. Both men maintained that they only advocated peaceful dissent against government action in Saada.

During the same month, the Government released more than 200 al-Houthi rebel detainees in an amnesty. It was unclear how many of those detained participated in the renewed March 2005 rebellion against the Government. Although some of those detained were held for their support of the al-Houthis’ religious teachings, the arrests appeared to have been more politically than religiously motivated.

Religiously motivated violence was neither incited nor tolerated by the Islamic clergy, except for a small, politically motivated clerical minority, often with ties to foreign extremist elements.

During the reporting period, there were sporadic reports of violence initiated by Salafi elements attempting to take control of moderate and Sufi mosques around the country. There were also unconfirmed reports that followers of Ismaili Islamic teachings were occasionally harassed and forbidden entry to mosques affiliated with Salafi followers.

Low Awareness of Aids in Rural Areas

Filed under: Medical, Religious, Tribes, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:15 pm on Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Yemen Observer

The latest study on AIDS awareness in Yemen, conducted by the Ministry of Health, concluded that only 34 percent of females in rural parts of the country are aware of AIDS, compared to 95 percent of urban women.

The high level of awareness among urban women shows that public awareness campaigns have been effective, but the government’s efforts to spread awareness in rural areas are still too little.

Also, the increase in AIDS victims in Yemen shows the government is not doing enough to prevent the spread of the disease. The Minister of Public Health and Population, Abdul-Karim Rasee, said the government is committed to fighting AIDS and stop it’s spread. “The National Anti-AIDS Program achieved much during the 2002-2006 period and many centers for fighting AIDS have been established,” he said.
(Read on …)

15 Year Old to Be Released

Filed under: Religious, Saada War, Yemen, prisons — by Jane Novak at 12:19 pm on Sunday, August 26, 2007

After promising to be politically passive and not to study Zaidism

HAJJA, August 22 — Seven of around 40 people imprisoned without trial and accused of having links with Al Houthi are to be released. They have been in prison for up to five months. The seven include three children aged l5, one of whom, Waeel Ghalib, was pictured on the front page of the Yemen Times on Monday.

Khalid Al-Anisi, executive director the National Organization for the Defense of Rights and Freedoms, who has been acting for the seven, says that they are being released because the sheiks in charge of their village in Hajja and the MP for the district of Miftah have both guaranteed the “good behavior” of the Seven.

“This means the seven have agreed not to belong to, or support any political group that opposes the government. They should also make a commitment not to follow any radical school of thought. This includes all religious schools of which the government disapproves.” (Read on …)

Exremists Close Girls’ Summer Camp

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Religious, Security Forces, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 6:55 am on Friday, August 17, 2007

Its nice security is hunting the extremists, but have they reopened the school or did the extremists win this one?

SANA’A, NewsYemen

NewsYemen was informed that some extremists, may be belong to Hitat group in Abyan, have closed a school which was a summer center for girls in Khanfar district of the province and kicked them out.

The source told NewsYemen that security forces did not take any measures against to stop those extremists.
“Security apparatuses in Abyan know very well the identity of those people who raided the school and threatened girls while security watches”, the source said.

Deputy governor of Abyan Ahmad al-Barashi said that four armed men, he described as “religiously extremists”, closed a summer camp for girls in Khanfar district by force protesting to females’ camps in the district.

Al-Barashi said the security forces could arrest one and they are hunting the three others.

busted

Almotamar.net – Security sources in Abyan governorate on Sunday affirmed to almotamar.net that security forces arrested two persons involved in storming a summer centre for girls last Thursday and expulsion of the girls who were inside it.

According to the sources security men arrested the extremist persons Fahmi Ali Mohammed Ali and Wadhah Rashad Hayder who had stormed Al-Haseen Summer Centre for Girls and cause a state of panic among the girls participating in the centre in addition to stealing equipment of the centre.

The sources added that the two extremists surrendered themselves to chairman of social affairs committee of the local council at the district of Khanfar who in turn handed them over to the district’s security. The security at once began interrogation of the two persons who are thought to be affiliated to an extremist religious group which refuses the idea of opening summer centres for girls.

Infidel Newspaper

Filed under: Media, Religious, TI: Internal, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:28 am on Saturday, July 28, 2007

Civil society objects to practice of takfirism.

Almotamar.net – A large number of journalists and members of civil society organisation Tuesday gathered at Democracy Square in front the cabinet building in the capital staging a strike in solidarity with 14 October Newspaper. The newspaper and its staff are presently facing a campaign accusing it with infidelity launched by some mosque preachers and extremists.

The strikers chanted slogans calling for the freedom of the press, the right to expression and prevention of charging others with infidelity. The gathering also demanded for not politicizing worshipping places and respecting opinion and other opinion.

Many speeches were delivered at the gathering in solidarity with 14 October newspaper and its editor in chief Ahmed al-Habeedshi and all of them affirmed standing as one rank against all that would impinge a basic right guaranteed in the constitution and the law, i.e. the freedom of expression and the right of the media to criticise wrong phenomena.

The sit-in strikers called on the ministries of information and endowments to take deterrent measures in this regard and to guarantee the freedom of the word and they also demanded the ministry of interior to shoulder its responsibility for protection of journalists and keeping security and stability.

Source: Al-Thawra.net

Suicide bombings and Islam

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Counter-terror, Religious, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 5:18 pm on Sunday, July 8, 2007

Yemen Observer

The murder of Spanish tourists and Yemenis in Marib this week has nothing to do with Jihad, and has nothing to do with Islam, said religious scholars this week. Non-Muslims coming to Yemen have a guarantee that they will be safe and secure when they are given the visa, said Dr. Fadhel Murad, a professor at Al-Ayman University. “These suiciders have nothing to do with Islam and don’t represent Yemen in any way,” he said. “Young Muslims used as suiciders are being misled, taught Islam in a wrong interpretation of it that is a closed one. The result of these suicide bombers is ignorance in Islam and understanding and interpreting it,” said Murad.

“In order for this violence to be weeded out, all religious scholars should form a committee in order to fight the ideas of these extremists and everybody behind them,” said Murad. Murad also said that Muslims should not just copy things blindly, as Islam has ordered us to question and to look at things critically. People want to distort the image of Islam by doing these attacks, he said. “But Islam is a religion for all times that can be applied in all aspects of our life.”

Rashad Mohammed Saeed, (ed: a/k/a Abu al- Fida) who was in Afghanistan and got back to Yemen after September 11, is one of the young men who use their religion to justify his version Jihad. He said that the Jihadist movement doesn’t belong to a specific school in Islam. It was rather formed by events in general that have happened to Muslims. This movement takes legality from the Shari’ah in its origins, Quran and Hadeth, said Saeed. It gives him motive to fight oppression. Jihadists are part of the Salafi sect, said Saeed. “I personally believe that Salafism are the most tenets that is resisting governments like Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Salafism teach on the text literally and urges people, especially the young to jihad. “But here we must say that Islam prohibited the killing of civilians.

That’s why we say in Islam that it is not right to kill old people, woman. Jihad targets fighters, not civilians,” said Saeed. “The creation of suicide bombers comes as a result of oppressed people, young ones that are ready to sacrifice themselves,” said Saeed. He said that you convince people to become suicide bombers by telling them that Israelis are killing innocent people, Americans are killing a lot of people in Islamic countries, and whoever gets revenge from those will go to paradise. “If there is no oppression, you could not find anybody who would sacrifice himself. Other justifications or reasons for suicide bombers beside oppression are corruption and ignorance of the teachings and principles of Islam, he said.

It is the US’ oppression and wrong policy with Muslims that makes room for suiciders and Jihadists, said Saeed. “The US is the reason behind all the tension that is prevailing in the world these days. The policy of the US also made a lot of people believe that people like Osama bin Laden and his followers are the saviors from the oppression on the Islamic world. The UK was targeted when it entered the war with the US in Iraq, Spain as well. Arabian countries that support and are allies with the US are also targeted.” Foreigners have a different view of the attacks. “It is disingenuous to suggest that extremists and suicide bombers are motivated by anything other than a twisted love of violence, a gross misinterpretation of religious texts, and a perverted desire to impose their own narrow political and religious view on billions of law-abiding, life-loving, moderate citizens,” said Philip Boyle, press officer in the British Embassy, in Sana’a.

Jihadists have carried out terrorist outrages in Yemen, Morocco, Egypt, Russia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Kenya, Tanzania, Syria, Lebanon and many, many other countries, he said. None of these countries have troops in Iraq or Afghanistan. But they were still targeted by terrorists. “And it is a fact that most victims of terrorist atrocities are Muslims,” said Boyle. “Muslim civilians are killed daily by murderers who claim to represent God’s will on Earth, and it is Muslim men, women and children that suffer the most at the hands of what can only be described as a fascist death-worshipping cult,” said Boyle. “The UK has been at risk of terrorist attack since long before 9/11. This threat is faced by all countries that embrace the rule of law and that stand up to those who would seek to enforce their political will through violent, undemocratic and murderous methods. As the British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, said after the attack on Glasgow Airport: We will never yield to terrorists,” said Boyle. (Read on …)

Dar al-Mustafa School in Hadramout

Filed under: Religious, TI: Internal, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:34 pm on Thursday, June 7, 2007

Interview

YT

Habib Ali is the founder of the ‘Tabah Foundation for Islamic Studies and Research ‘based in the United Arab of Emirates. He is also lecturer at Dar Al Mustafa, Tarim, an educational institute established for the study of traditional Islamic sciences…..

Dar al-Mustafa is a fruit of the school of Hadramout, as the founder of Dar al-Mustafa, Habib Umar Bin Hafiz, is one of the men produced by this school. Students come to Dar al-Mustafa from every part of the world. There are lodgings for students who want to board, and it has branches in Yemen and internationally which were established by graduates of the school. The international branches include Indonesia , and parts of East Africa . There also exists Dar al-Zahra, which is similar to Dar al-Mustafa and specifically for women.

YT: Do the foreign students in Dar al-Mustafa face any pressure from the government?

On the contrary we found a great deal of co-operation from those in positions of responsibility in the government. The talk of some about the Government putting pressure on foreign students of the sacred sciences is contrary to the truth. The only demand of the security services is that they do a check on the students to ensure they do not belong to any groups or ideologies that could be detrimental to Yemen .

The truth is that the government and people of Yemen will not accept Yemen, a country with a long history of producing balanced callers to Islam who were able to convince others to embrace Islam, be turned into a country which produces extremism and radicalism. There are some places in Yemen that taught Western students extremist views. This reflected badly on Yemen and its moderate schools when those students returned to their home countries carrying those views, and this of course is unacceptable.

YT: What enabled you to make Dar al-Mustafa the destination of so many seekers of knowledge from all over the world?

The first reason is that the school of Hadramout had a hand in the spread of Islam in South East Asia, East Africa and India, and some of those living there moved to the West. They carried with them the methodology which they took from their families and forefathers and this led to those who accepted Islam at their hands coming to Hadramout. Secondly, the strong link that Habib Umar has with the Sheikhs who themselves were converts to Islam. This led to the them sending their students to Dar al-Mustafa, the fruit of which was the students returning to their countries carrying themselves in a praiseworthy manner and embodying good character, moving those around them long to go to Hadramout. Thirdly, the spiritual environment that is present in Tarim. Tarim is a city of knowledge, light, uprightness and spirituality. Anyone who enters it is pervaded by a feeling of deep inner peace and tranquillity, and this alone had a great impact on those who came seeking inner peace.

YT: What is your evaluation of the worldwide call to Islam today?

The call to Allah in the contemporary world is undergoing a pre-birth crisis which manifests itself in the absence of mature authorities to whom people can turn in times of instability and discord. The institution of calling to the faith needs be reorganised.

The opportunity for calling to Islam is very great and can be seen in the dedication of today’s youth and the receptivity of so many people to understand it, despite globalization. Maybe this is one of its good points in that it has made the world into one huge crucible in which everyone brings forth what they have. The information explosion and the communication revolution are an opportunity to take the message of Islam to the world. The weariness of the northern hemisphere from materialism and the southern from oppression have made people receptive and willing to listen objectively to whoever could present his case well.

YT: The School of Hadramout is accused by some quarters of being pro-government; meaning it always sides with the ruler. What is your reply?

Ten years ago we had the exact opposite. The ruler was on the side of those who make these statements, they were even part of the government. We do not want to live though a period where each party is blaming the other. We can answer by saying the ruler allied himself with you one day in order to strike at his opponent, then moved you to one side. The history of the school of Hadramout is well known… and the people who paid for Yemen’s period under Communism by being murdered and assaulted were scholars from this school and not from the people who talk this rhetoric… but we do not want to go into this narrowness.

Praise be to Allah that there is understanding with the groups from whom such statements are made. Amongst these groups are men of discernment and we have open channels of communication with them, love & respect, and they have made clear their displeasure at some of the statements that came from within their ranks.

Regarding the ruler the statements of the people of knowledge (the scholars of the community) are clear. One cannot revolt against a Muslim ruler except if he does something which is open disbelief. He cannot be obeyed in disobeying the commands of Allah, and he has the right of being given counsel. The ru
The School of Hadramout has a huge role in spreading Islam to the four corners of the earth.

ler does not have absolute loyalty or absolute enmity. Now is a time we need to heal wounds as rulers & ruled, caller & called, politically and socially. This a difficult phase and we cannot overcome it except with our hearts united. I say: “My brothers, leave this rhetoric; more important things face us.”

Using Religion to Justify Violence Against Women Must End: HR Minister al-Ban

Filed under: Religious, Women's Issues, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:29 am on Thursday, May 31, 2007

double punkification

al-Motamar

HR Minister calls for exposing prejudiced use of religion against women
Wednesday, 30-May-2007
Almotamar.net – Human rights Minister Huda al-Ban called Wednesday on all educational and media institutions in Yemen and the Arab world to take stances supportive to the woman rights in the essential issues and to unveil types of violence directed against the woman. she also called for facilitating impediments blocking the woman rights to political participation in order to establish comprehension of her different issues in addition to improving knowledge of her needs. She also asked for issuing legislations and decisions for her protection and to toughen punishments against practicing family and social violence against her.

That came in the Minister’s speech she delivered at the opening of the regional conference inaugurated Wednesday in Sana’a under the motto “Together to end violence against the woman”. The Human Rights Minister called on all Arab organisations to organize aware campaigns in order to activate agreements on ending all forms of discrimination against the woman and the necessity of deepening mechanisms of coordination among organisations working in the field of woman rights and exchanging information, especially regarding the efforts exerted for developing a system of laws of personal status.
She stressed that these organisations should give especial attention to the issue related to violence against the woman in addition to exposure of the prejudiced use of religion and legal interpretations in an attempt to give legitimacy to lower status of the woman and called to benefit from religious men to open dialogue with trends that are more open and enlightened. She pointed out that all forms of violence against the woman are considered a major cause in tearing off the fabric of the family and a factor to displacement of children and depriving them of the simplest needs of safe childhood.

The Human Rights Minister said” Despite the noticeable progress achieved for the Yemeni woman in the previous years in all walks of life, the human rights of the woman, as is the case for her Arab sisters, remain the weakest aspects of human rights and most fragile because of a historical heritage curbing the woman’s progress towards equality and depriving her of enjoying the relative gains she got.”

The Minister added among the main indicators of the woman exposure to violence is the violence represented by physical violation against young females. She pointed out that present evidence indicates that the Arab woman, especially in the rural areas, is still exposed to many types of social, family and economic violence and it is embodied by the physical harm, early marriage, deprivation of education, preliminary health care services, imposition of duties heavier than her physiological and psychological capabilities although there are relevant legal texts concerning the achievement of justice and equality between the man and the woman. She said protection of the woman against violence is the essential means for removing the difficulties that restrain development of the woman in various social and legal aspects.

In the same context the chairwoman of Yemen Women Federation Ramziyah Al-Eryany said dissemination of the phenomenon of female circumcision in Yemen is attributed to negative cultural accumulations and ignorance of the society of the legal rights of the woman and confusion between the inherited accumulations and the correct Islamic religion texts.

She has also attributed that phenomenon in Yemen to being acquired from the African migrations, citing that by spread of this phenomenon in the coastal regions. She added that despite the Yemeni government efforts for putting an end to this phenomenon it is still practiced secretly in houses without knowledge of health authorities.

On his part the assistant representative of the UN Fund of Population in Yemen Saleh Bi Al-Sheikh said the violence directed to the woman and girls is unacceptable and will not be tolerated, calling all to join forces in order to change the deep-rooted trends that consolidate the phenomenon of female circumcision.

Sa’ada

Filed under: Religious, Saada War, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:06 am on Saturday, May 26, 2007

Its a nice article in that it addresses the Sa’ada issue and some of its complexities, but this could use a little clarification:

Jamestown

Al-Houthi led a rebellion of Zaidi Muslims—an off-shoot of Shiism. The Zaidis, who comprise as much as 40% of Yemen and form a majority in the northwest, do not recognize the primacy of the government. This, therefore, was not solely a political uprising; it had a religious message that resonated with a significant number of Yemenis.

A large number of Zaidis were among the revolutionaries in the 1962 revolution overthrowing the Imamate. Houthis perhaps reject the primacy of government. A discussion of the religious aspect of the conflict is lacking without bringing in the issue of the Salafi tribesmen, jihaddis and the fatwa publicized by the defense ministry.

Another one

Equilibri.net (01 August 2007)

The Zaydist rebellion

In less than a month the truce between the government of Sana‘a and the group of Zaydists barricaded in the mountainous region of Sa‘ada, North of the country was broken. The agreement, reached under mediation from Qatar, required rebels to deliver weapons and prisoners under their possession in exchange for impunity, and, for the leader of the group, a golden exile in Doha. Abd al-Malik al-Houthi’s men have nonetheless failed to respect the agreements, putting the government at fault for proceeding with attacks on their settlements. In practical terms, it is increasingly difficult for the two sides to arrive at a common agreement, given that either side has been seeking to annihilate the other.

In Yemmen, 15% of the country’s 20 million people belongs to Zaydism, one of the three main branches of shiite Islam and almost exclusively present in the country. The region of Sa‘ada is the stronghold of Zaydists, who have been in power uninterruptedly for almost a thousand years up until 1962, when a coup d’etat saw the country pass into the hands of a military government. In the current context, rebels are fighting for their region’s independence and for the recognition of their own rights, mainly in response to ardent discrimination but also with the further aim of rendering the government inactive. On the other hand, government forces have been trying to eliminate pockets of shiite resistance, seen as the only obstacle to a neo-Salafist takeover in Yemmen. Authorities have been noticed for their strong Islamic conservatism, harking back to Wahhabist and Salafist tendencies, openly hostile to shiites. At the same time, and in an apparent contradiction, the government of President Ali Abdullah Saleh is also one of the closest allies of the US government, especially in light of the latter’s anti-terrorism campaign following 9/11. The two countries’ strategic alliance is lambasted by the rebels, who criticise the government for submission vis-à-vis conflicts with the West. As a matter of fact, the offensive carried out by Sana‘a, in repressing the Zaydist minority, seems to be a rather factious affair and has left the impression of hiding specific, elitist interests under the umbrella of the “war on terror”. In such a conflict of interests, the United States has turned a blind eye to ideological extremism practised by authorities in the Yemmeni government against shiites, whilst accusing Iran of orchestrating attempts to destabilise Yemmen. As such, the country runs the risk of falling into the hands of a rather authoritarian and fundamentalist regime with a Salafist veneer, while ironically becoming one of the main targets of the war on terror and a fertile ground for jihad.
Nepotism, clientelism and internal jihad

At the helm of the Yemmeni government stands President Saleh, admitted into power in 1978 and re-elected in 2004 with nearly 97% of suffrage. Nepotism characterises umpteen relations at state level, to such an extent that army forces are almost completely composed of relatives and contacts close to the head of state. Furthermore, Yemmen is a region where tribal power is still predominantly robust, and no different from Arab tradition, whereby many influential and important tribe leaders are instituted into power, following a logic of clientelism that resemble the feudal system. Some of the most important positions in the military, legal, and secret services are dominated by a conservative mentality. In an internal war that has continued for three years now, the assault to the settlements of al-Houthi’s troops has been led by General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, a figure supposedly linked to the President’s family and accused of recruiting men into Bin Laden’s network in the 1980’s, when Bin Laden himself took refuge and organised actions in Yemen.

Saleh has likewise resorted to using well-trained, expert members of global jihad (with combat experience in Bosnia, Chechnya and Afghanistan, as well as currently in Iraq), such as he did in 1994, when militants were flung up against southern socialist independence fighters, labelled apostates. In an act that closely resembles a fatwa (a religious edict), the Minister of Defence issued a call authorising the use of violence against shiites in his own personal webpage. The country’s dilemmas seem to have brought it to an internal state of jihad, along the same lines of other occurrences in the Middle East. Rebels have taken refuge in the mountains, where they fight against government forces in guerrillas, whilst the government has decided to cut all means of communication in the region, including the blocking of mobile phone services. Yet, such a conflict is not only increasing the chances of an ensuing humanitarian crisis – the isolation and collapse of the Sa‘ada region’s main economic activities, such as local trade and agriculture, suggest just that – but also preventing the region from being receptive of any aid that may come to be necessary. At the same time, the government has left itself out of the region, making it more difficult to monitor and intercept communication between al-Houthi’s bases. Among a host of other problems faced by the administration is the diffusion of weapons among the population. Since the end of the civil war in 1994, it is estimated that 60 million firearms (most of which AK-47 assault rifles), are in the hands of tribes acting parallel to state power.
Operations in the Middle East

Accusations of Sana‘a’s government against Teheran, for harbouring Zaydist warriors in the North of the country, are not entirely unconvincing. As a matter of fact, one can observe a renewed conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia over hegemony in the Muslim world. The battle has been fought on a number of fronts, with different alliances and tactics, and Yemmen serving as a potential piece of the puzzle in the internal conflict between Muslims. A deep schism is evident between sunnis and shiites in Iraq, the same way that the relevance of outside influences in the country is no less negligible nor responsible for surveilling the country’s segregation. Countless times have the United States labelled Iran as the principal commandant and supporter of shiite militias wreaking havoc in what is already a martyred territory in Iraq, performing vindictive acts of violence against the sunni portion of the population, more so than against foreign troops. In that respect, Teheran’s objectives for the region are clear: to expand their sphere of influence rather than fight foreign “invaders”, such as the sunni insurgency has been more dedicated to doing.

In Lebanon, Iran has a weighted influence in the power of Hezbollah and has been successful at keeping the country under its reach for years. In a recent resurgement of sunni fundamentalism, inspired on al-Qaeda, such as Fatah al-Islam, shiite militantism has not gone unabated. A number of intelligence sources confirm that groups such as Fatah-al-Islam have been created and established in Lebanon with the support of Riyad. Still in Yemmen, as conflicts re-emerge between the government and the shiite minority, a new terrorist attack in the touristic site of al-Marib has been attributed to the work of al-Qaeda. Again, it is difficult to make out a possible sunni response to shiite ambitions. Al-Qaeda, or rather the group of movements that consider themselves as such, seems to have shifted increasingly towards the West, in the Maghreb region, where a real terrorist threat is more likely to take hold (and has already done so a number of times, as is evident in recent attcks in Algeria, arrests in Tunis, and disorder caused by a number of suicide bombs in Morocco). It seems as though such movements have moved further and further away from the influence of Teheran and the shiites. In addition, Saudi Arabia’s shiite minority, located atop oil-fields in one of the country’s wealthies regions, pose a threat to the central government. There is, furthermore, a host of predominantly shiite countries like Bahrain, where 75% of the population is shiite, and, in a more strategic position, Syria, Teheran’s ally par excellence. Conflicts in Yemmen are hence intricately intertwined with transversal alliances across the region.
Conclusions

Yemmen is a new territory ravaged by internal conflict between a shiite minority and oppressive government forces. The government accuses rebels of wanting to give birth to a theocratic state along the lines of Iran and has obtained full support from Washington and Riyad in trying to obliterate al-Houthi’s rebel militias. By pledging their support, the US risks supporting a much more dangerous kind of fundamentalism than that of Zaydists (which, among the traditional variants of shiism, is in theory the most moderate and least inclined towards political and religious extremism). One possible scenario is for the country to arrive at a similar situation to Lebanon’s, where anti-shiite forces may lose control and end up putting the country on the road to fundamentalism, inspired by Salafist ideals.

Religious Scholars Arrive in Sa’ada

Filed under: Presidency, Religious, Saada War, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 12:58 pm on Thursday, May 24, 2007

Surrender or die

YO: A committee of scholars dedicated to ending the war up in Sa’ada arrived there Saturday, carrying a message for the al-Houthi rebels. “We will try to convince the rebels to surrender and lay down arms and stop the war against the camps of the state,” said the Minister of Endowment and Guidance, Hamoud al-Hitar. The committee was formed last week, at the end of a conference to come up with solutions to the four-month armed conflict between the government and Shiite rebels in the north.

The conference formed the committee to follow up the implementation of its recommendations and findings. The final statement of conference said the conference would continue to be held until the rebellion is eradicated and life in the Sa’ada province gets back to normal. The committee includes al-Hitar; Abdul-Majeed al-Zindani, the Islah leader; Mohammed al-Hajee, the president’s advisor; Mohammed al-Mansour and Hamoud al-Moayyad, scholars in the Zaidi faith, and others. Abdul-Majeed al-Zindani’s office said that he was not actually a member of the committee, despite official announcements.

Committee member Abdullah al-Sheikh said that if the rebels refuse the invitation of the scholars to lay down arms, they would go to all of the villages and cities to clarify the truth for the people and to rally people against this armed rebellion. (Read on …)

Sa’ada, Yemen

Filed under: Iran, Libya, Religious, Saada War, Security Forces, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:01 am on Thursday, May 24, 2007

The original fatwa, the recent last-chance-before-a-fatwa statement by the religious scholars, and the very traditional, tribal call to arms by Sheik al-Ahmar after a visit from President Saleh were all designed to increase popular participation in the war on behalf of the regime, however the 58,000 soldiers in the Republican Guard remain in Sana’a, with Saleh’s son Ahmed, who may be the ultimate and only winner in the war.

Gulf News: Sana’a: The state must fight the rebels in Sa’ada if they do not surrender themselves, said Yemeni religious scholars yesterday at the end of a conference that aims to end the four-month armed rebellion in the north. (Read on …)

When the State Abandons Responsibility

Filed under: Counter-terror, Military, Religious, Saada War, TI: Internal, Tribes, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:16 pm on Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Opinion article from the Yemen Times:

he political regime in Yemen seems to be in hot water with regards to the fighting with al-Houthi rebels in the northern governorate in Sa’ada. It has been trying its best with clerics of the Zaidi sect to issue a statement condemning the war in Sa’ada and calling for rebels confrontation.

It has tried to get Sheikh Abdullah Bin Hussein al-Ahmer involved and pushed him to call the tribes of Sa’ada, according to the accustomed tribal mores, to join hands and fight the insurgents. However, the consequence was terrible as the tribes of Sa’ada put al-Ahmer in a fix and embarrassed him when they said in a letter to him that they would like him to thwart the harassments they are going through at the hands of the government troops and their fellow tribesmen backing them up. This letter shows that it is not only al-Houthi supporters who are fighting against the government troops and that some tribesmen are involved.

Again, last week president Saleh mandated the clerics of Yemen to find a way out for this headache of Sa’ada fighting. But, he failed to get a final religious edict to legitimize a war against al-Houthi rebels based on religious ground. In their statement, the clerics who gathered around in a 2-day conference decided to give al-Houthi fighters another chance to let their arms and live peacefully.

But, it is really dangerous that the state gives the whole responsibility to others to sort out such a serious problem that has been there since 2004. It entails unawareness to the grave consequences of such an unclear policy towards the question of the war in Sa’ada.

I understand there is a tremendous growth and expansion for the Salafia movement and their supporters who are given an official patronage these days; these people are very much radical in their views towards al-Houthis and the Shiite groups at large to the extent they name them in their mosque sermons infidels and are on tenterhooks to have a green light to launch a religious war against these people.

It is really dangerous that the political regime hands such a serious issue to a group of clerics to handle. Some might allege that this is a tactic by which the government then claims it has tried all possible ways to nip this problem at the bud but the rebels gave deaf ears to all initiatives and thus it has the right to crack them down. Such kind of offers by the government to the rebels gives an impression that this is a signal of weakness rather than strength.

I believe rebels have been outlawed and all do oppose their use of arms to the fight the government. Therefore, it is the task of the government and not the clerics or tribesmen to sort out the problem with al-Houthis. It is fine that they can take the advice of the clerics or tribesmen but they can never be the main players. I would prefer that the government has involved also the political parties and civil society organizations in any talk on the problem of Sa’ada to get their feedback on how it can be worked out. It is really dangerous that the state gives up its responsibility to others as this is a signal of its weakness which might incite more tumult here and there.

Zindani and Hittar to Sa’ada

Filed under: Military, Religious, Saada War, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:39 pm on Sunday, May 20, 2007

And Ali Mohsen makes three.

Almotamar.net – Judge Hampoud al-Hitar, the minister of Endowments and Religious Affairs and sheikh Abdulmajid al-Zindani, president of al-Eman University leave for Saada Sunday leading a committee set up by the Yemen Scholars conference. Members of the committee include Sheikhs Mohammed Nasser al-Shaibani, Mohammed Bin Ismael al-Haji, Abulhassan al_Mrebi, Ahmed Hassan al-Muaalem, Mohammed Aidha, scholar Mohammed Bi Mohammed al-Mansour and Sheikh Hamoud Abbas al-Mumin.

The committee is to convey message of Yemen scholars to leaders of the terrorist elements and to try to convince them lay down weapons and stop the war being waged by their militias against the military positions in the governorate.

Al-Mithaq.net quoted Sheikh Mohammed Aidha as saying the committee will hold a meeting immediately at their arrival in Saada to discuss mechanism of sending messengers to leaders of terrorists; Abdulmalik al-Houthi and Abdullah al-Razzami to inform them what the statement of Yemen scholars included and wait for their reply upon which the committee will base its stance.

In case of the terrorist elements refusal of the scholars call, he said, the committee will explain to the scholars and the people the stand of those elements towards the message and statement of the scholars. He said the duty of the scholars will then be to make field visits to all areas of the republic and to muster people to confront the terrorist operations.

The regime is encouraging a civil war.

Salah Asks Clerics to Solve Sa’ada War

Filed under: Military, Religious, Saada War, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:24 pm on Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Almotamar.net – President Ali Abdullah Saleh announced Tuesday his empowerment of religious scholars of Yemen to work for whatever necessary o keep Yemen away from sedition that the rebels in the governorate of Saada have ignited and to spare blood of the Yemenis shed because of the military engagements between the army troops and the rebellious elements. (Read on …)

Killing Innocent People is a Transgression of Sharia: Fadl (al-Sharif)

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Other Countries, Religious, TI: External, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:26 am on Wednesday, May 9, 2007

The founder of al-Jihad has come to the conclusion that random mass slaughter is against Sharia law. Those who facilitate the activity I would assume are transgressors as well.

London, Asharq Al-Awsat – Speaking from his prison in Egypt, founder of Al-Jihad Organization and Al-Qaeda ideologue, issued a call urging all jihadist and Islamist movements in the world to ensure that their jihadist operations are carried out in accordance with the rules of Shariaa.

Dr Fadl, also known as Sayyid Imam Abdulaziz al-Sharif stressed that his call is now necessary because of the rise in new forms of un-Islamic fighting and killing in the name of jihad that violate Shariaa law, like the of killing people based on their nationality, skin or hair color, or being affiliated with a certain sect, and also the killing innocent Muslims or non-Muslims.

Dr Fadl, who is serving a life sentence in connection with the 1999 “returnees from Albania” case, sent a letter by fax to Asharq Al-Awsat from Turrah prison. Muntasir al-Zayyat, legal representative of the fundamentalist movements in Egypt, confirmed that this letter was sent by Dr Fadl.

In the letter Dr Fadl urged jihadists not to use the excuse of human shields to expand the circle of killing, and to refrain from stealing and destroying property, as all these actions constitute aggression. God, he explained, prohibits aggression during jihad as illustrated by the Koranic injunction: “Fight in the cause of God those who fight you, but do not transgress the limits; for God loveth not transgressors.”

Dr Fadl, who was Al-Jihad Organization’s first leader, is currently arranging the papers of various Al-Jihad factions inside Egyptian jails pending the release of a collective declaration to halt all operations in Egypt within weeks.

He added in his letter: We are prohibited from committing aggression, even if the enemies of Islam do that. God described them as: “In a Believer they respect not the ties either of kinship or of covenant! It is they who have transgressed all bounds.”

Faction leaders of the fundamentalist Al-Jihad Organization are working on an initiative to halt all violence that they intend to make public on lines similar to the Islamic Group’s no-violence initiative of 1997.

Fadl authored the most important book on jihadist jurisprudence in the past quarter century, “The Basic Principles in Making Preparations for Jihad” This book is considered the jihadist movements’ constitution and all researchers use it as a reference. It lays down the rules of jurisprudence for combat operations for all jihadist groups. Al-Qaeda regards the book as its guide for combat.

Dr Fadl added: Jihad in the cause of God has been the continuous duty of the nation of Islam since God instituted it as a law and it will persist until the last of the Muslims fight alongside Christ, may God’s peace be upon him, against the False Messiah at the end of times. Jihad, as our prophet Muhammad informed us, is the pinnacle of the Islamic faith.

In his letter to Asharq al-Awsat, Dr Fadl admitted that numerous conflicts occurred in Muslim and non-Muslim countries on the basis of the books he wrote on jihadist jurisprudence, including “The Compendium of the Search for Shariaa Knowledge.”

This caused him to write a clarifying memorandum over this issue that he called: “Advice Regarding the conduct of Jihadist Action in Egypt and the World.” He asserted that the jihadist factions in Egypt have welcomed this recent document and have adopted it as a sign of their new inclination to peace in order to stop the conflict with the Egyptian Government, end the bloodshed, and fulfill important Shariaa interests. He pointed out that hundreds of Egyptian jihadists have signed this document.

Fadl, who was extradited to Egypt by Yemen in 2004, added: “This new document is not addressed to one particular group and does not criticize any particular party. It is a collection of rules to help jihadists avoid violating Shariaa during their conduct of jihad.”

He added: “It is not permissible to reject this document on the grounds that it was written in jail or by claiming that a captive has no authority over others. I do not pretend to have authority over anyone. I am not requiring anyone to accept my view in the name of obedience to the leader. This leadership does not exist. I am not pretending to be qualified to issue religious edicts or that I am deducing new rules of jurisprudence. I am merely a transmitter of religious knowledge. There is a form of obedience that is greater than the obedience accorded to any leader, namely, obedience to God and His messenger. God says: ‘If ye have a dispute over a certain matter, consult what God and the prophet say.’ What Shariaa requires us to do takes precedence over any human covenant.”

He said: “The place where the document was written has no importance. What is important is the proof on which the document rests. God’s prophet Yusuf gave advice to God’s people while he was imprisoned. Sheikh al-Islam Ibn-Taymiyah composed many of his writings while imprisoned in the fortress of Damascus. Was their imprisonment used as a pretext to reject their advice? As I said, the important thing is the proof on which the document rests, not where it was written. If there is anything in what I wrote that contradicts the true rules of Shariaa, I will take it back and adhere to the proofs of Shariaa. No one may attribute to me any statement other than those that I included in this document.”

It should be remembered that Muntasir al-Zayyat, the Egyptian Islamists’ lawyer, had earlier told Asharq al-Awsat that a certain tract would be soon published that should be regarded as an annex to “The Basic Principles in Making Preparations for Jihad.”

Islamists in London said that Dr Fadl is regarded as Al-Jihad Organization’s most important ideologue. He became emir of Al-Jihad in Peshawarin 1989 and was higher then in rank than Dr Ayman al-Zawahiri, currently deputy to Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden. The current revisions of Al-Jihad’s ideas enjoy the support of senior figures of the various Al-Jihad factions including Anwar Ukashah, Amir al-Juyush, Ahmad Yusuf Hamadallah, and Muhammad Hijazi.

Dr Fadl was born in Banu Suwayf in southern Egypt in 1950.He graduated with honors from Cairo University’s College of Medicine in 1970and worked as a resident surgeon at Al-Qasr al-Ayni’s Medical College. He obtained his master’s degree with high honors and became director of the Kuwaiti Crescent Hospital in Peshawar. In the wake of the separatist war in Yemen he worked as a volunteer physician at Yemen’s Al-Thawrah Hospital and then worked in Dar al-Shifa Hospital in the city of Ibb south of Sanaa until hewas finally arrested in 2003. Meanwhile he had married a Palestinian woman and had four children. He later married a Yemeni woman and had a daughter with her who is now four years old.

He fled Egypt after Al-Sadat’s assassination in 1981 when he was named as a suspect in the government’s major case against Al-Jihad Organization. He traveled to Pakistan to help treat the wounded and was then appointed director of the Kuwaiti Crescent Hospital in Peshawar. He left Pakistan in the wake of the famous campaign of arrests against the Arabs in Peshawar in 1993. He traveled to Sudan, but sensing that the Islamists were being harassed there, he left for Yemen. Yemen extradited him to Egypt on 28February 2004, putting him and five others who had death sentences passed against them in absentia on board a private aircraft that took off from the freight section at Sanaa Airport.

In April 1999 an Egyptian military tribunal sentenced him to life imprisonment in connection with the returnees from Albania case even though he had never visited Albania.

Egyptian Islamic Jihad to Renounce Violence

Filed under: Religious, Saada War, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:28 am on Thursday, May 3, 2007

That’s good. Its really not getting us anywhere.

Kuwait Times

CAIRO: One of Al-Qaeda’s top ideologues and the brother of Osama bin Laden’s deputy are leading hundreds of other Muslim extremists jailed in Egypt in a “review” of their radical views to renounce violence and suicide bombings. Sayed Imam Abdul-Aziz el-Sherif, 57, is leading the “review” which, if concluded with an unequivocal disavowal of violence, could lead to the release of some 3,000 members of Islamic Jihad, Egypt’s most violent militant group, according to a lawyer familiar with the process.

In a wider context, the renounciation of violence by a key extremist group like Islamic Jihad would take a big chip off the ideological base of Al-Qaeda, although the terror network has dismissed similar reviews in the past as meaningless on the grounds that they took place under the pressure of incarceration. El-Sherif, A physician by training who also is known as Sheikh Fadl, authored “The Essential Guide for Preparation” in the 1980s while fighting Soviet occupation forces in Afghanistan.

The work, a military and political manual for Jihadist groups, contained some of El-Sherif’s most extreme views and has been viewed as a main plank in the ideology of Al-Qaeda. In that work, he brands large segments of society -judges, lawyers, armed forces personnel and police -as “infidels” and labels democracy as a new form of idolatry. In the aftermath of the Sept 11 attacks, El-Sherif, one of Jihad’s early leaders, wrote: “As long as America is an infidel enemy, terrorizing it is a duty.”

In a statement posted on Islamic militant web sites, he once wrote: “Terrorism is from Islam and whoever denies that is an infidel.” Al-Gamaa al-Islamiyya, once Egypt’s largest Islamic militant group that waged an insurrection against the government in the 1990s, reviewed its own ideology and published its “revisions” starting from 2002. Thousands of its members have since been freed from prison.

El-Sherif left Egypt in 1986 to go to Afghanistan. He later wound up in Yemen where he was arrested in 2001 and handed over to Egypt in 2004. He is serving a life sentence. “He is the number one Faqih (chief Islamic scholar) for Al-Qaeda and Jihadi groups,” Montasser El-Zayat, a prominent Islamist lawyer who is familiar with the review by the Islamic Jihad, said of El-Sherif. Earlier this week, according to El-Zayat, El-Sherif addressed Jihad members detained in a prison southwest of Cairo, telling them that he disavows suicide bombings that take place in Muslim nations.

He also explained that “The Essential Guide for Preparation” was written under special circumstances that were no longer applicable, according to El-Zayat. Mohammed Al-Zawahiri, the younger brother of bin Laden’s deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri, is among the Islamic Jihad leaders advocating the review, according to El-Zayat. The younger Al-Zawahiri has been on death row since 1999, but El-Zayat said his sentence was expected to be commuted following a second trial.

Diaa Rashwan, an expert on Islamic militant groups, credits el-Sherif with laying down “the foundations for taking arms against the ‘infidel’ ruler, and religious justification for violence.” The review, he said, would deal a blow to Al-Qaeda. “It’s unimaginable for Al-Qaeda that someone like him will carry out this review ,” he said. – AP

Dammaj Clarifies Shooting Incident

Filed under: Education, Religious, Saada War, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:28 am on Tuesday, May 1, 2007

The Dammaj school authorities say that there is no sustained hostilities between the Dammaj students and the Houthis, that the shooting incident that left one French student dead occured when two Dammaj students left the grounds without approval and got into a fire fight with the Houthis who were in a nearby residential area. The Dar al-Hadith school in Dammaj says it is well protected by the Yemeni government and the students have not taken up arms in the Sa’ada war.

Clarifications of what has been fabricated about us by some of the publications and broadcasts (i.e. the situation in Dammaaj)

Author: Aboo Mus’ab asSsalafee

In the name of Allaah the Rahmaan the Raheem

All praise to Allaah, Lord of all creation, and His salaah and salaam upon the noblest of the prophets and messengers, to proceed:

Rumors have been broadcast amongst the people that the Daar al-Hadeeth center in Dammaaj, the students there, and that there is a war between the students and the raafidhah(shee’ah)-Allah fight them-and this recording by Shaykh Yahyaa al-Hajooree, Allaah preserve him, by the title of “Clarifications of what has been fabricated about us by some of the publications and broadcasts”.

Its contents (are):

There is definitely no war between Ahlus-Sunnah and the raafidhah, and all that the matter amounted to was that two students climbed the mountain where the raafidhah were concentrated along with the local people; they did so without the permission of the Shaykh,Allaah preserve him, were he said: “They went off and left without my approval.

Then what happened: the French brother was killed-Allah have mercy upon him- and the other, a French Algerian, was wounded-I ask Allaah for his wellbeing.

“Right now, there is no problem at the center and all is as usual, along with the fact that our brothers are taking the proper precautions in the face of the raafidhah, and all those who desire evil for the center- I ask Allaah defend it (Dammaaj) and the rest of the Muslim lands against the plots of the schemers.

And whoever says that there is a war between the People of the Sunnah and the raafidhah, then he is a liar. Allaah has given us enough protection from them through the (Yemenee) government.”

Writing this clearly and certainly to his beloved brothers of Ahlus-Sunnah, and doing so despite those who lurk in ambush and spitefully, your brother, Aboo Mus’ab as-Salafee: Husayn bin Ahmad bin Alee al-Hajooree-administrator of Shaykh Yahyaa’s site-Allaah preserve him.

Allaah’s Messenger said, “It is enough for one to be considered a liar that he speaks about every thing he hears.”

The Introduction to Saheeh Muslim

Ibraaheem al-Harbee said, ‘I heard Ahmad (Ahmad Ibn Hanbal) say, ‘If you love that Allaah should keep you upon that which you love, then remain upon that which He loves, and the good is in the one who sees no good in himself.”

I’m assuming what I got by email is a translation of what is here at Sahab. The word Raafidhah is an inflamatory, insulting, takfir-ish term meaning rejectionists, and the republication of the statement is not an endorsement of this characterization.

Yemen’s Salafi Paramilitary

Filed under: Military, Religious, Saada War, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:11 am on Monday, April 30, 2007

A military commander is recruiting extreme Salafis from Ibb, Dhamar and Taiz to fight in the war.

SA’ADA, April 29 – A tribal source mentioned that fierce confrontations are escalating between Yemeni government forces and Houthi followers in Sa’ada, located some 245 km. north of Sana’a, leaving hundreds killed or injured daily.

It added that the governorate’s hospitals no longer are capable of holding the increasing number of victims among soldiers and their supporters from Sulfis and tribal fighters, while Houthis receive no medical attention. The sources questioned the role of Doctors without Borders and the Red Cross organization, which are absent from scene, as well as the weak role of the Yemeni Red Crescent organization in Sa’ada.

Sources also mentioned that Yemeni army forces supported by helicopters and fighters still are attacking areas where Houthis exist, especially Dhahian city, which has been the scene of the fieriest and longest clashes between the two sides since the war began. The Yemeni army also is attempting to seize Bani Mu’ath district’s Fakawah Shi’eb, where Houthis have their largest camp.

Helicopters are bombarding Razih district north of Sa’ada, particularly as Houthis are centered in the district’s government buildings in Al-Qal’ah area. Army forces continue their attacks on Houthis on Burkan Mountain.

Sources also revealed that Yemeni army forces withdrew to Al-Dhai’ah area due to strong resistance by Houthis, as well as to enable armed helicopters and mortars to secure the way leading to Razih, which Houthis had occupied by the start of this week.

Further, Al-Talh, Al-Saifi and several areas near Magz witnessed violent battles late Saturday evening and Sunday morning; however, neither side’s losses have been identified.

“Sahar’s Al-Sanarah and Al-Ablah Mountains also witnessed similar clashes, as large numbers of Houthi loyalist were seen last Saturday in mountains near Al-Ablah Mountain, so army forces bombarded the mountain last Friday with mortars and Katyusha missiles,” a source reported.

Confrontations between both warring sides are ongoing in Bani Mu’ath, killing and injuring large numbers of fighters. Moreover, a helicopter waged an air raid on Houthis centered on Sabr Mountain. (Read on …)

al-Hittar

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Military, Religious, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:40 am on Monday, April 23, 2007

Not promoting Sunni extremists, just giving them military training and weapons to go off and fight the jihad in Saada. I wonder what al-Hittar thinks of the state wantonly bombing its own civilians, and denying them food and medical treatment, arbitrary arrests and replacing Zaidi preachers with Salafi preachers?

YO:

The armed rebels who fighting against the government in the northern governorate of Sa’ada are people who have been deceived and their leader al-Houthi is adopting the same style as Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda organization, said Judge Hamoud al-Hetar in Sana’a, Thursday. Al-Hetar, who was recently appointed Minister of Endowments and Religious Guidance, also said that al-Houthi and his followers only want to achieve political and personal gains at the expense of Islam and Muslims.

“Al-Houthi exploited the vacuum thought of the youth in his area, and he tried to fill this vacuum with his own wrong-headed ideas by planting distorted conception of Islam,” al-Hetar, who conducted a failed dialogue with al-Houthis followers before the war broke out, told Yemen Observer. “And he and his followers adopted the same style of al-Qaeda in exploiting the youth and planting the wrong ideas in their minds with the aim of achieving political and personal gains at the expense of Islam and Muslims.”

Al-Hetar denied that the State was encouraging Sunni extremists against the Shiite al-Houthis as a way of making balance. “This is just a rumour that has been released from time to time for political wrangling. Yes, there may be some kind of balancing for some reasons, but this absolutely does not mean that the State is pitting one sect against another,” he said. When the war broke out earlier this year, the State promoted fatwas, or religious decrees, saying it was religious obligation and jihad to fight against the al-Houthi followers.

Although the official said that what is happening now in Sa’ada now is not a sectarian war, he defended the promotion of fatwas against the rebels. “It is an armed rebellion and a breaking of the law and a violation of the constitution, yes, but certainly there are texts in Quran and Sunna which support the legitimacy [of the regime] like all modern constitutions and laws, which ban the overthrow of the government. Furthermore, overthrowing the existing regime by force is banned by all laws human and divine,” he said.

The State is not against any particular Islamic sect; but it is against those who break the law and use violence against the State, he said. It’s been three months now since the war between the armed al-Houthi rebels and the government troops began, and in that time, hundreds of Yemenis have been killed. Despite the failure of previous attempts, the official said he would try to establish dialogue with the al-Houthis once the war comes to an end. “Use of force alone will not be enough to solve the Sa’ada problem; there should be dialogue for solving the problems thoughtfully. The Sa’ada problem started by thoughts, and it should be treated by thoughts,” he said.
Copyright 2002 – 2006 Yemen Observer

al-Hittar to Discuss Iraq in Dialogs

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Religious, Saada War, Yemen, political violence — by Jane Novak at 8:54 am on Friday, April 20, 2007

That’s new, up to now al-Hittar only discussed the illegitimacy of attacks within Yemen based on the concept of obedience to a Muslim leader.

Religious schools to be monitored, good -if they mean the actual extremist ones not this duplicitious word game thats been going on for some time now.

Hittar also intends to quell the violent religious rhetoric against non-Muslims, that would be nice.

He’s going to try dialog again with the al-Houthis but there’s some inherent problems with that.

But all in all, it *sounds* good. Time will tell. Of course al-Hittar is connected to the security services, so we’ll see if he’s standing with or against extremism. If he’s against, its going to be hard.

Also again the basic point that dialog with misguided extremists is good, however unencumbered dialog within society at large would go a long way toward keeping these assorted teen-agers from blowing themselves up on a regular basis and murdering other people in the process. Before anyone gets to prison is the best time to talk about these things, but of course the regime has a bit of an issue with free expression and criticism.

Gulf News:

Sanaa: The Yemeni government said it is working on a two-year plan to avoid any future war, like that with Al Houthis in the north, with extremist groups.

The plan aims to address the reasons behind extremism and replace them with moderation, said Judge Hamoud Al Hetar, Minister of Endowments and Religious Guidance, in an exclusive interview with Gulf News.

“It also aims to create a culture of tolerance, coexistence between Yemenis on one hand and between Yemenis and the other nations on the other,” said Al Hetar, who is known for his dialogue programmes with Al Qaida suspects and Al Houthi followers.

Talks

Al Hetar started his dialogue programme in August 2002 with the Yemenis who returned from Afghanistan and hundreds of them were released after the programme.

The plan will include the young Yemenis influenced by ideas of jihad and who go to Iraq to fight against the Americans, he said.

“Yes, the strategy will deal with the extremists, whoever they are, and if there are people influenced by extremist ideas, the strategy will be an important factor to treat their mistaken ideas,” he said.

Madrassas

Over the last two years, the Ministry of Endowments has been watching the religious schools with the aim of closing down those that work outside the law and adopt extreme views and violence in their curriculum. No school has been closed down so far.

Al Hetar did not confirm or deny this because he was appointed only two weeks ago as a minister. But he said the issue would be under discussion.

There are procedures that must be followed by anyone or any group who wants to establish such schools, he said.

Salafi schools which are scattered throughout Yemen, are among the schools which the government wants to get rid of to check extremism.

Al Houthi followers recently attacked a Salafi school in Sa’ada after accusing them of fighting with the government troops.

Though the Salafis do not recognise the constitution or democracy, they call for obedience to President Ali Abdullah Saleh who was elected according to the constitution.

“They [Salafis] believe in the legitimacy of the existing regime, and as long as they believe in the legitimacy of the regime, they will recognise the results of the means of installing the ruler, which are democracy and the constitution,” Al Hetar said.

“They do not believe in the constitution? Yes, [they do not] as an opinion. But they did not break it. The constitution and laws should be the reference for all, so whosoever commits to the constitution he is moderate and he who does not is an extremist,” he explained.

Schools of violence

“If any of these schools started to call for violence, it must be stopped, even if the violence did not start. If their curriculum calls for using weapons and to fight the state or fight others, it is dangerous.”

The minister said his strategy aims to remove reasons for violence and hatred and ways of inciting people against the others.

“We call for dialogue between the religions and with the nations and people and civilisations to achieve coexistence between the followers of the [different] religions and nations, and there should be respect for … everyone and every religion,” he said.

When asked about some mosque leaders who keep insulting and cursing non-Muslims during public prayers, he said that was not Islam.

‘It is not Islam’

“This is not Islam at all, Islam has very clear positions to deal with others. Such supplications do not go with the spirit of Islam. We are ordered to treat the non-Muslims kindly, if they did not fight us in our countries, or drive us out from homes. Disbelieving or being infidels, or having a different religion, is not a justification for war or killing or cursing [the people],” Al Hetar said.

He recited verses from the Quran in support, saying: “Allah forbiddeth you not those who warred not against you on account of religion and drove you not out from your homes, that ye should show them kindness and deal justly with them. Lo! Allah loveth the just dealers,” (Mumtahana, eight).

When asked the steps his ministry can take against the extremist mosque leaders, he said the religious discourse that calls for excluding others and making hatred must be reviewed.

“Generally speaking, the religious discourse should be reviewed,” he said.

Al Houthi followers ‘copying Al Qaida’

The rebels in Sa’ada in the north of Yemen are deceiving people and their leader Al Houthi is adopting the style of Osama Bin Laden’s Al Qaida, said an official in Sanaa yesterday.

The recently appointed Minister of Endowments and Religious Guidance, Judge Hamoud Al Hetar, also said Al Houthi and his followers want only to achieve political and personal gains at the expense of Islam and Muslims.

“Al Houthi exploited the ideological vacuum among the youth in his area, and he tried to fill the vacuum with his wrong ideas by planting wrong concepts about Islam,” Al Hetar, who conducted a failed dialogue with Al Houthi followers before the war broke out, told Gulf News.

“He and his followers adopted the same style of Al Qaida to exploit the youth … [and] achieve political and personal gain at the expense of Islam and Muslims.”

The minister denied that the state encourages Sunni extremists against Al Houthis, who are Shiites, as a way of striking a balance.

“It is just a rumour that [makes its rounds] from time to time for political wrangles. Yes, there may be some kind of balancing for some reasons but this does not mean that the state makes a sect [fight] against another sect,” he said.

The state announced fatwas and religious decrees, saying it is a religious obligation to fight Al Houthi followers when the war broke out earlier this year.

Although the official said what is happening in Sa’ada at present is not a sectarian war, he defended the declaration of fatwas against them.

“It is an armed rebellion and breaking of the law and constitution, but certainly there are texts in the Quran and the Sunna which support the legitimacy [of] all modern constitutions and laws which ban overthrowing of governments; overthrowing the existing regime by force is banned by all humane and divine laws,” he said.

The state is not against a certain Islamic sect but it is against those who break the law and use violence against the state, the minister said.

It has been three months now since the war between Al Houthi followers and the government troops erupted, killing hundreds of Yemenis.

Despite the failure of previous attempts, the official said he would continue dialogue with Al Houthis after the war comes to an end.

“Force alone will not be enough to solve the Sa’ada problem; there should be a dialogue to solve the problems. The Sa’ada problem started by ideology and it should be treated by ideology,” he said.

Amother version of the same article with more detail about plans to close extremist schools: (Read on …)

Mansour: Stop the Violence

Filed under: Religious, Saada War, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 6:54 am on Tuesday, April 10, 2007

almotamar.net – Member of Iftaa Body the Scholar Mohammed Mohammed al-Mansour addressed a message to terrorist Abdulmalik al-Houthi and his followers advising them to abandon violence and to preserve security and stability of Yemen under the banner of unity and reminded those of the prohibition of shedding blood of the Muslim and the consequences of that.

The scholar said in his message that he advises them to stop what they are doing because that is in violation of cooperation on good deeds because God warned us against sin and aggression. He reminded of the accomplishments realised in Yemen that need to preserve them as well as keeping security and stability.

This is the same guy who wrote a public letter in March 2005 that urged the Yemeni military to stop using chlorine gas on the rebels.

Mosque Firebombed

Filed under: Religious, Saada War, Yemen, political violence — by Jane Novak at 9:17 am on Monday, April 9, 2007

Sanaa. Unidentified attackers petrol-bombed a Yemeni mosque Friday, wounding 30 worshippers, eight of them seriously, AFP cites the official Saba news agency.
The attackers struck during the main weekly Muslim prayers at the mosque in Amran province, north of the capital, the news agency said.
“Thirty people suffered burns, eight of them serious ones, after unknown individuals entered the mosque… and then proceeded to spray the worshippers with petrol and set them alight,” Saba quoted a provincial official as saying.
Other members of the congregation suffered from the effects of smoke inhalation, the official added.
There was no immediate word on who might have carried out the attack or whether there was any connection with a deadly three-year-old rebellion among the Zaidi minority in Yemen’s northern mountains.

Third attack

SANAA: Attackers poured fuel over worshippers at a mosque in northern Yemen, locked the doors and set fire to it, wounding 30 people, the official Saba news agency reported.

The attack took place on Friday in the northern province of Amran, south of Saada. “Security authorities are investigating to identify the assailants and the motives of this criminal act,” Saba quoted Amran Governor Taha Hajar as saying.

Eight victims in critical condition were taken to the capital Sanaa, while 22 were admitted to local hospitals for treatment for burns, the agency said late on Friday. Several people suffered from smoke inhalation.

Saba said the attack was the third in Amran. In 2001 a man opened fire at worshippers, killing three, and in 2003 a bomb exploded in a mosque killing one man and wounding 50, it said. Yemen, the ancestral homeland of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, joined the US-led war on terrorism after the Sept 11, 2001 attacks in the United States.

They are blaming it on a single deranged individual operating from personal motives, although yesterday there was three suspects.

French Balhaf Engineer to be Expelled from Yemen

Filed under: Economic, Oil, Other Countries, Religious, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:36 pm on Wednesday, April 4, 2007

No finding of Koran desecration occurred.

DPA – Yemen said on Wednesday it would deport a French engineer involved in an alleged desecration of the Muslim holy book, the Koran, that sparked riots by workers at a giant gas-exporting project in last week. Hundreds of Yemeni workers, outraged by an alleged abuse of the Koran by a French engineer, destroyed facilities and houses of foreign experts at the project that was under construction at the Belhaf port in south-eastern Yemen on March 25.

Outraged workers also set a helicopter on fire as it landed at the Arabian Sea port, some 580 kilometres from the capital Sana’a, after claims that a French engineer kicked and tore the Koran apart.

A statement issued by the Interior Ministry, however, said an ad hoc investigation commission had concluded that the “claimed desecration or abuse of the Koran could not be substantiated.”

It said that a dispute between the Frenchman, whose name was not given, and a Yemeni employee was behind the “rumour” that spread among the Yemeni workers and set off violent protests and riot.

Three workers were injured in clashes with police forces. No casualties were reported among the foreign workers as security forces managed to evacuate them swiftly.

The Interior Ministry’s statement said the commission “decided to obligate the company running the project to dismiss the French engineer and return him back to his home country.”

It also recommended that the Yemeni employee who involved in the disputed be moved to another job in the project, said the statement.

Yemen, located on the south-western tip of the Arabian peninsula, is looking to exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) as an alternative to its dwindling oil reserves.

The 3.7-billion-dollar LNG project is the most important in the history of the country that is a small producer of about 380,000 barrels per day of oil.

Exports of crude oil represent more than 90 per cent of Yemen’s export revenues and more than 70 per cent of budget revenues.

The project is run by the Yemen Liquefied Natural Gas Company, which is a joint venture owned by the state-run Yemen Gas Company, French oil giant Total, US Hunt Oil Company, as well as Kogas and Hyundai from South Korea.

The project was expected to generate the largest single revenue for the country. The Yemeni government expects the project to generate up to 20 billion dollars over the course of 20 to 25 years after its completion in 2008.

Sana’a, NewsYemen

The claim that a French engineer working in a French company in the Yemeni Liquefied Natural Gas project in Shabwa offended the Holy Quran was baseless, said the committee formed by the Interior Ministry to investigate into the event.

Hundreds of Yemeni workers in the project rioted on Sunday, March 26, protesting what they said offensive behavior by a French engineer against the Holy Quran.

The committee said that the issue started with jokes between the Yemeni worker and the French engineer who are friends and used to have funny times together.

“The French engineer touched the Holy Quran when he got some books
out of the Yemeni employee drawers. The Yemeni employee told him the
book was the Holy Quran and the French engineer could not touch it because he was a Christian. Then the French engineer put the Holy Quran in the drawer again,” said the committee.

After that the jokes continued to develop into a quarrel between the Yemeni and French employees, which was resolved by the administration of the project, the committee said.

But rumors that the French engineer threw the Holy Quran away spread in the location. The workers started their protest based on rumors causing clashes with security forces that claimed the life of one worker.

Reliable sources told NewsYemen that the French engineer was deported.

The French ambassador to Yemen Gilles Gauthiet said he has no comments as the French engineer came to Yemen to work in a company in a Yemeni project.

“If I cannot touch the Quran, as a Christian, so what can I do with some copies of the Quran which has been given to me as present, one from the minister of endowments,?” the ambassador inquired.

The committee recommended to send the French engineer back to France and moving the Yemeni employee to another job within the project.

People who were responsible for destroying some vehicles and housing units belong to the project would be referred to prosecution, the committee said.

Ancient Texts Discovered

Filed under: Agriculture, Religious, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 6:07 pm on Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Wasn’t there an ancient copy of the Koran found in Yemen in errrr the 70’s maybe? Well more historical finds:

SANA’A April,3 (26sep.net) The archaeological team committed for renovations of the Great Mosque, which is one of the oldest mosques in Yemen, found new ancient manuscripts.

“The new discovery represents three large bags full of leather archaeological manuscripts dated back to the first century of hegira, pointing out that what was found today inside one of the mosque’s walls of the is the opposite of previous site, which was found a few weeks ago in which a large quantity of documents, pointing out that new manuscripts will be unveiled by formation of a committee from General Authority for Antiquities to know their contents,” archaeological source said to “26sep.net”.

al-Zindani named in US Federal Court as Coordinator of Cole Bombing

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, GPC, Religious, USS Cole, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:39 pm on Tuesday, April 3, 2007

One of the findings in the case against Sudan by the Cole families was that al-Zindani selected the suicide bombers who blew up the USS Cole, killing 17 US sailors.

Jamestown:

Al-Zindani was recently identified in a U.S. federal court as the coordinator of the October 2000 suicide attack in Aden harbor on the USS Cole. A two and a half year-old lawsuit filed in Virginia by the families of the 17 servicemen killed in the bombing has recently finished by finding the country of Sudan responsible for the attack, opening the way for compensation payments from the US$68 million in Sudanese assets frozen by the U.S. government. The suit also alleged that al-Zindani selected the two suicide bombers that carried out the strike, although the sheikh was never charged by Yemeni authorities with complicity in the attack (The Virginian-Pilot, March 12). Yemen’s minister of foreign affairs, Dr. Abu Bakr al-Qirbi, welcomed the decision, ignoring the alleged role of al-Zindani, while declaring the verdict proof that Yemen was in no way involved in the attack on the U.S. destroyer.

Demonstrations against purported French Koran Desecrations

Filed under: Civil Society, LNG, Religious, Yemen, political violence — by Jane Novak at 5:26 pm on Monday, March 26, 2007

AS

Hundreds of workers protested Sunday before the French Gas Company after a French had desecrated Koran (the holy Muslim Book ) in Shabwa.

The correspondent of Alsahwanet said that the protesters set a helicopter, belonging to the company, on fire and destroyed the company’s facilities as well as several cars belonging to the company.

Some eyewitnesses affirmed to Alsahwanet that the security forces had intervened to calm the violence and evacuated the French engineer from the centre of the riot. They also said that the police had shot fire and that one protester was seriously injured ant taken immediately to hospital.

More: The violence began when a French employee at a natural gas liquefaction plant being constructed by Yemen LNG in the coastal city of Balhaf threw a copy of the Koran, Islam’s holy book, on the ground, a move that angered Yemeni workers at the plant site. The enraged Yemenis reacted by attacking the French employee and setting fire to a helicopter and a large number of vehicles inside the plant site, the officials said.

Related: Yemenia Promoting French Tourism

Sunday 25 March 2007

26 Septemper News

SANA’A March 25(26sep.net) Yemen Airways in French capital, Paris had organized an evaluation meeting for the French tourist market with the participation of travel and tourism agencies Yemeni market.

In the meeting which was held yesterday evening, Yemeni ambassador in France Ameer Al-Aiddarous had confirmed the importance of organizing this meeting to study French tourist market and the promotion of the features of tourist attractions in Yemen to enhance attracting the French tourists, as France has became on the tops of European countries that export tourism to Yemen.

More on the riot:

YO: riot broke out among 1,000 or so workers of the Yemeni LNG Company working in Balhalf at around 2 p.m. on Sunday, following a dispute between a French worker and a Yemeni worker. Press reports have suggested that the fights erupted after the French worker, who worked for a subcontractor involved with constructing the plant facilities, and whose name has not been released, desecrated the Holy Quran, outraging the Yemenis. (Read on …)

Dammaj Students Killed in Clashes with Houthis

Filed under: Education, Religious, Saada War, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 5:19 pm on Monday, March 26, 2007

Dammaj is a famous Salafi Islamic Institute in Saada. As usual, there are at least two versions of the story.

First version from the ruling party, a French student walking down the street gets killed by Houthis.

almotamar.net – Sources said the killing incident took place when students were walking in a street when some terrorist elements attacked them.

The sources pointed out that two students were killed Monday in Saada, one of them a French citizen living in Yemen to study Arabic language at Damaj Institute in the governorate. The attack also resulted in injury of other students.

The second version of the story comes from al-Estraki.net, the YSP’s website, which says three foreign students at Dammaj were killed. The school had been provided arms by the government, and the enthusiastic students established a checkpoint. In a shootout at the checkpoint with Houthi fighters, three Dammaaj students were killled: one Frenchman, one American, and one unidentified foreigner.

OK, the third version is from Islah’s paper, al-Sahwa: Houthis assualt Dammaj school. One British, a French and an Algerian killed.

al-Sahwa: Local sources affirmed Monday that British and French students who were studding at Dmaj Centre for Islamic studies were killed. They also said that an Algerian was wounded in an assault that targeted the centre.

The source cited that the centre was subjected to a similar assault last Wednesday in Saada by a Shiite rebel group, al-Houthi rebels.

On the other hand ,some sources said that al-Houthi followers could kidnap two soldiers in an abrupt assault in the area which had been controlled by the government forces .

They also asserted that three volunteers who were fighting with the government were killed by al-Houthi rebels.

Version four, the BBC:

SANAA (AFP) – A French and a British student, both Muslims, were killed in an attack by Shiite rebels on a Sunni Islamic college in a restive region of Yemen, a tribal source said Monday.

An Algerian student was also wounded in the attack which took place on Sunday, in the northern province of Saada, where Zaidi minority rebels are fighting government forces, the source told AFP requesting anonymity.

He said that the students were part of a group who were guarding the school at night.

The British and French embassies in Sanaa were not immediately available for comment.

Dozens of foreign students attend the school for Islamic studies at Dammaj, which is run by a Sunni Salafist group, the source added.

Sunni Salifists consider Shiite Muslims as heretics.

The Zaidis are an offshoot of Shiite Islam dominant in northwestern Yemen but form a minority in the mainly Sunni country. They began fighting government forces in 2004, since when hundreds have been killed.

The rebellion — which the government claimed to have crushed in April 2005 — flared up again in January following a presidential ultimatum for the rebels to disarm.

The rebels reject as illegitimate the current Yemeni authorities who seized power in a 1962 coup known as the September 26 revolution, overthrowing a Zaidi imamate.

mmmm, no I dont think the rebels see the republican regime as illegitimate, considering Hussain al-Houthi was a member of Parliament, as is Yahya al-Houthi.

So did the students attack the Houthis at a check-point the Dammaj students created, or did the Houthis attack the institute at Dammaaj? Yemen, land of a thousand realities. Over the last years, the Houthis have restricted themselves to military targets, unlike the regime.

Update: al-Tagheer quotes the al-Estraki story that the students set up a check point and also notes the 26 Sept says the Houthis attacked the school.

The Scotsman says there are about a dozen international students, but the source of the story is the regime. The previous AFP/BBC article says dozens of international students.

SANAA (Reuters) – A French student and a Yemeni man were killed and another Frenchman was wounded on Monday when Shi’ite rebels attacked an Islamic college in a volatile area in northern Yemen, a government official said. Earlier the official said two foreigners were killed in the attack.

A Frenchman, identified by the official only as Patrick, was killed, and a French student of Algerian origin was wounded. The attack, in which a Yemeni man was also killed, took place in the province of Saada where government forces have been battling Shi’ite rebels since the beginning of this year.

Residents said about a dozen international students attended the Dammaj Institute for Islamic studies. Many had feared such attacks because of the clashes in the region.

Yemen said on Friday 15 Shi’ite rebels were killed in a battle with Yemeni soldiers.

Government officials say at least 290 rebels and 132 soldiers have been killed in the clashes. The rebels have denied those numbers but given none of their own.

YO: Walking or guarding the school, or walking while guarding the school:

Two students, one of them French, of a Salafi institute in Sa’ada were killed in an attack carried out by al-Houthi followers, said officials Monday. “Elements of the terrorists Abdul Malek al-Houthi and Abdullah al-Ruzami attacked today a number of students of the Damaj institute in Sa’ada province.

While some students were walking on a road, the terrorists attacked them, killing two of them, one Yemeni and one French, who were studying Arabic language at the institute,” said the Defense Ministry website, 26sep.net, quoting an unidentified security source. The official also said that several other students were injured. The source said the students were part of a group guarding the Sunni religious school at night. Dozens of foreign students attend the Damaj school, the source added.

The Damaj institute is run by Salafis, who are in disagreement with the al-Houthis. Meanwhile, official sources said that Yahya al-Khodhair had died after he was injured in battle with the government troops three days ago in al-Salem. Al-Khodhair, leader of the al-Houthi followers in al-Salem, was the one who threatened the 45 Yemeni Jews of al-Salem, triggering the war. Local sources said that the rebels are resorting to using motorcycles for carrying out their operations against the troops.

IHT

SAN’A, Yemen: Members of a Shiite rebel group attacked students enrolled in a fundamentalist Sunni Muslim religious school Monday, killing a Frenchman and a Briton and wounding several others, according to Yemeni provincial officials.

But tribesmen said the students were fighting alongside government forces and tribal volunteers against “the Young Faithful Believers.” The Shiite Muslim group is led by Abdel-Malek al-Hawthi.

The tribesmen reported clashes Monday in al-Khanajer Mountains, which is several kilometers (miles) north of Saada, where the students’ Dammaj School is located. The tribesmen spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

The Saada governor’s office issued a statement saying that “terrorist members of the al-Hawthi group attacked a group of students enrolled in Dammaj School, killing two students.”

The statement did not say where the attack occurred. It said the students were studying Arabic at the school, one of the biggest religious learning centers in Yemen.

From a blog

Two Students killed in Dar al-Hadith by Followers of Al-Houthi.
- Dammaj, Yemen

Just like the last round of sad news, it seems two foreign Stuents of Knowledge were killed in Yemen.

The following is my brief translation of this Arabic Article published yesterday. I came across it last night.

According to official sources, two foreign students –on of them of French nationality– were killed today in an attack on students of the Dar al-Hadith institute in the village of Dammaj. This attack, the first of it’s kind, was carried out by followers of al-Houthi, a local Shiitie Rebel Leader.

According to some local Yemeni websites:

The encounter took place when some of al-Houthi’s followers attacked a group of students from the Salafi institute.
The students “were standing guard, which was a newly enforced measure” after the Government had reportedly “armed them and a groupd of students from the Salafi institute to confront the followers of al-Houti.”
The encounter took place “during the passing of a patrol of al-Houthi’s followers in the area”.

Some sources in San`aa’, close to the Administration of the institute reaffirmed, “The Institute commonly stays under tight security measures.” He also negated the “possibility of suporters of the Institute taking part in any armed confrontation with al-Houthi’s followers in the Sa`dah region.” Saying, “Our task is one of Da`wah (Islamic Propagation), not a Military one. We don’t take part in any armed struggle against that Rafidhi (Shiite) Rebellion which is present in the villages around the city of Sa`dah.” The source also mentioned his sorrow on hearing news of the institute in Dammaj coming under armed attack. He went on to say, “The Institute was established by Shaikh Muqbil bin Haadee al-Waadi`ee –rahimahullah (may Allah have mercy on him)– more than two decades ago and the people of the area have never known it to be anything other than a peaceful institution which calls to Allah through speech and intellect. Leaving ‘Da`wah by hand’ (using forecul measures) to the Authorities.”

He added that, “Despite the fact that Shaikh Muqbil and his followers would openly call to Allah and denouncing Shirk (Polytheism), Bid`ah (Innovation in religious matters) and Rafdh (Being of Shiite methodology), the School has never been associated with any armed encounter.” He then reaffirmed that, “The Center will continue the task of Shaikh Muqbil by defending the Sunnah (teachings of Prophet Muhammad) and defense of the Companions of the Prophet –sallallaahi `alaihi wa sallam (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him)– and the correct teachings of Islam, regardless of how many attempts there are to hamper it.”

The source, who asked to remain anonymous, also fiercely refuted the notion that al-Houthi’s followers conceal hatred for the Salafi Da`wah.”
He found it strange that, “Some people are trying to make this a sectarian conflict. This (al-Houthi’s followers) is an oppressive group that has rebelled against the Government. It is the Government, now, who strives to execute its authority in the region, keen on the service of its citizens”, as he put it.

Quick Links, Yemen

Filed under: Judicial, Medical, Reform, Religious, Saada War, Unions, Yemen, prisons — by Jane Novak at 5:43 pm on Thursday, March 22, 2007

Half of Yemeni children under 5 are malnourished. This is the statistic I hate the most. There’s ten million kids in Yemen.

Top officials hold multiple paid positions. Ghost workers drain the budget, and the Civil Service Ministry is fighting hard to reform the system.

Prison conditions are appalling.

The sons of a military commander (who murdered someone who told them to stop harassing girls) got arrested only after public protests. (They may never come to trial though.)

A 5000 year old settlement was discovered dating back top the Kingdom of Sheba.

Security arrested a (Zaidi) Shiite preacher, this is going on all over the country. And to no one’s surprise, the vacancies are filled by Salafi preachers. Also arbitrarily arrested, numerous political activists (both Socialists and Zaidis), journalists and anyone else who objects to the government’s tactics in fighting the war in Saada.

GPC: 1994 Civil War “An Apostate War”

Filed under: GPC, Political Opposition, Religious, Saada War, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 9:30 am on Tuesday, March 20, 2007

almotamar.net – An information source at the General People’ Congress described Tuesday the stance of the Yemen Socialist Party (YAP) regarding the sedition events in Saada as shameful and irresponsible.

In a statement to almotamar.net the source said it is not surprising that the YSP media, especially alishtiraki.net to find them changed into propaganda medium for the terrorist elements repeating their lies and deceiving propaganda, especially publishing statements of lies by the fugitive terrorist Yahya al-Houthi

This non-patriotic stance gives political and media cover to criminal and terrorist acts committed against the homeland, the citizens and members of the armed forces and security by those elements; the remnants of imamate backward system that is rancourous towards the republic and revolution and unity. Those elements have supported the secessionist elements in the YSP when they inflamed the apostate and secessionist war in the summer of 1994. The two parties allied for the purpose of harming the national unity and turning back the wheel of history but their hopes failed by virtue of the people and their armed forces and their stand by the revolution and unity.

The source also added it is regrettable that the YSP secretary-general Yassin Saeed Nouman his orientation inside his party and that appeared clearly in his spasmodic stance against acceptance of the parties affairs and political organisations of the decision of Al-Haq Party dissolving in response to request of its leadership and founders.

The GPC source said this shameful stance by the YSP has behind it vengeful goals ands ill intentions against the homeland and its security and stability, its national unity and social safety.

Political Arrests in Yemen

Filed under: Religious, Saada War, Yemen, political violence — by Jane Novak at 9:17 am on Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Deja vu all over again: Yemen Times

Tribal sources report that government forces have initiated a large-scale offensive upon the main Houthi stronghold in Dhahian district, using all types of weaponry, including fighters.

The confrontations which have been ongoing since Saturday left seven soldiers dead and another 45 injured, while Houthi and civilian losses were unspecified due to the siege laid around the target area.

The same source added that government authorities had amassed large forces over the past two weeks in preparation for the offensive, which is due to be complete by the end of this week, according to promises by high-ranking military leaders.

Security apparatuses arrested a group of Houthi loyalists as they were receiving medicine at a Sana’a medical center for their injuries in the ongoing confrontations with Yemeni army forces.

According to Ray News, six individuals who infiltrated Sana’a seeking treatment after being injured in confrontations with armed forces in Sa’ada were arrested earlier this week, together with numerous others accompanying them.

Five soldiers kidnapped

The Islah Party-affiliated Al-Sahwa.net reported that Houthi loyalists kidnapped five soldiers as they headed from Sa’ada to Dhahian district onboard a microbus.

The site added that the five were kidnapped in Al-Sadek area after Houthis established a checkpoint on Dhahian road as their bus was passing through the area carrying both civilians and soldiers in civilian clothing. Houthis seized the five soldiers after forcing all of the travelers to show their IDs.

Mosque preacher arrested

In related news, security personnel arrested Al-Rawdha Great Mosque preacher Mohammed Al-Siraji last Thursday with no justification other than suspected Houthi links.

Al-Siraji, a copy editor for Al-Haq Party’s Al-Ummah newspaper, is a young Zaidi scholar who enjoys widespread respect and recognition among Al-Rawdha city locals, who chose him as preacher for their mosque to replace scholar Mohammed Muftah, whom authorities arrested during the first Sa’ada war in 2004.

Aleshteraki.net reported that a group affiliated with Yemeni intelligence arrested Al-Siraji at his home, which is located in the same zone as Iman University.

Al-Siraji’s arrest comes within a context of arrests, which have included numerous political activists from Al-Haq, the Yemeni Socialist Party and the Public Forces Union, over the ongoing Sa’ada war between the Yemeni army and Houthi loyalists.

Organizations seek to halt war

Under the theme, “Together Against War,” civil society organizations held a symposium Sunday at the headquarters of the Media Women’s Forum, stressing the importance of consolidating political, social, economic and cultural efforts to halt the war in Sa’ada and deal with its consequences.

“We, as human rights organizations, see that war damages the human rights situation in Yemen in all respects: political, social, cultural and economic,” renowned civil society and human rights activist Mohammed Naji Alaw noted.

Speaking in the name of such organizations, Alaw added that the war is accompanied by political congestion and destruction of infrastructure, together with bloodshed and draining resources, thus crippling plans and development programs.

“Further, it has led citizens to chase after sectarianism and religious conflicts, something we thought Yemen was past, following the eruption of the Yemeni Revolution,” he noted.

He continued, saying, “Constitutional legitimacy authorities should bear in mind that they work under the umbrella of Yemeni law and the Constitution, which regulate the extent of using power on the part of those in charge of enforcing the law. The security authority should respect the legal and constitutional rights of those arrested and should be referred to judiciary.”

Alaw maintains that security authorities shouldn’t use kidnapping and secret confinement of detainees, whom he noted should receive a fair trail before a natural judge, not before exceptional courts.

Foreign sympathy for Houthis

Yemeni Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Abu Baker Al-Qirbi pointed out that his recent visit to Iran had clarified the misunderstanding for Iranians, as he assured them that the current war in Sa’ada is not between Sunnis and Shi’ites.

Al-Qirbi added that Houthis, who are leading the insurrection in Sa’ada, are claiming to be Shi’ite in order to attract Iran’s attention and sympathy, further asserting that Houthis are receiving funding from some Arab nations.

The minister told Al-Sharq Al-Awsat newspaper that Houthi loyalists are receiving financial and spiritual support from Arab Shi’ite institutions; however, he denied linking them to Hezbollah.

Al-Qirbi further indicated that Libya sympathizes with Houthis in Sa’ada. “Yahya Al-Houthi’s visits to Libya and his meetings with public leaders there indicate that they sympathize with Houthis,” he added.

Replacing the mosque preachers is going on all over Yemen, and can be viewed as limitation of religious freedom at least and forced conversions at most.

Yemeni Prisoners Assert Right to Jihad in Iraq

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, Iraq, Judicial, Religious, USA, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 1:00 pm on Monday, March 19, 2007

NY:

The second Yemeni group, under trial over “Jihad in Iraq”, protested to any charge against them and considered the authorities accusations as “a result of foreign pressure”.
The 23 asked the jury in a trial on Saturday to “hold the political security accountable for criminalizing Mujahideen who wanted to travel to Iraq for Jihad which is the duty of all Muslims”.
The group wondered that the Yemeni Prosecution “preserves security of US and British forces that occupy Iraq, raid houses in Iraq at night, rap women and torture prisoners.”
They accused the Prosecution of circulating misleading ideas that serves only Islam enemies, according to the group.
We are like other Muslims who hear and see what is happening in Iraq, so we have behaved according to our Islamic values and gone to Iraq to defend our religion and brothers there, said the group.

The Prosecution accuses the 23 of falsifying identifications and traveling documents to go to Iraq for fighting against US forces. They are also charged of concealing al-Qaeda escapees.

The court adjourned the verdict against the 23 group until 22 April 2007.
In June 2006, the court convicted 19 of them of falsifying official documents and identification cards and sentenced them to three years in jail since the arrest date. The group appealed against the sentence.

Fatwa Undermines Legitimacy of the Constitution

Filed under: Religious, Saada War, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:58 am on Sunday, March 18, 2007

good point

Al-Wasat
Issue 138 – March 7, 2007
The authority should not consider making the Sa’ada war a holy war and change it from a fight against lawbreakers into a fight against heretics. The state also shouldn’t also use a fatwa ‘religious advice’ that allows or legitimizes killings, because such an action will create a counter action that will enlarge the base of the ordeal instead of limiting it.

The leader of the state relies on a constitutional and public legitimacy that can never be doubted or revolted against even by means of a religious fatwa, as there is only one sole legitimate approach for removing a president of a constitutionally democratic state, which is the election box. Therefore there is no need to try and get support by resorting to the issuance of a religious fatwa because the fatwa here would be replacing the constitution.

It becomes a subjective substitution for the legitimacy granted by the constitution and by the election box. Thus, it would bring us back to the stage of the Imamate rule, where the ambitious persons wanting to govern would resort to searching for religious scholars and religious references that would grant them the legitimacy to rule—a matter that has deprived the country of its stability for a long time.

The state is engaged in a war on a group that it has claimed has revolted against the state. The logic and the power of the state impose on it that its army alone should decide the battle, because it is the main body responsible for protecting the legitimacy of the government.

However when resorting to earn the support of persons outside the army, this indicates that the army is too weak to decide the battle. Moreover, the use of the militant tribes in the fight against the rebels will change the war from a legitimate fight under the flag of the state into a war of revenge, whose effects would not be easy to control.

The latest statements by the rebels do not leave space for a solution other than confrontation. However these confrontations require courage from the authority and its president who never leads us into slapdash resolutions that might lead to losing the supporters that share with the state the same visions. Also, the absolute doubt by the supporters and hesitating on issuing resolutions that are based on confirmed information are among the causes of defeat.

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