Sunday, October 4, 2009

At this stage in the game, needing more of my words-per-minute to line the many still-blank pages of my thesis, I'll be spending fewer minutes blogging. So, without further ado, straight to the news and issues:

Strange bedfellows, the US and Egypt, have gotten a resolution on free speech passed at the UN Human Rights Council. Egyptian ambassador Hisham Badr made clear what Egypt's aims were: "“the joint US-Egypt resolution is key to achieving balance on the issue of incitement that erupted in the world after September 11." To me it seems like free speech advocates are trying to use an anti-incitement, anti-defamation resolution to further free speech in the Muslim world while others hope to use a free speech resolution to restrict free speech when they find it offensive to their religious sensibilities. Free expression group Article 19 is nervous that the resolution seems to defend religions rather than believers.

Protesters at Al-Azhar demonstrate in solidarity with Palestinian protesters barred from entering Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem (Al-Quds) following a riot last week.

The Muslim Brotherhood is finding itself pulled in several directions ideologically even as the Egyptian government cracks down and the press lashes out. Friday morning, 15 members of the MB were arrested.

Mubarak urges Israel to rethink its Middle East strategy.

Trash heaps crowd out fears of swine flu in working class Cairo neighborhoods.

Human rights group pressure Egyptian government to intervene on behalf of its citizens in Saudi Arabia.

Factions in Egypt's Christian community trade barbs. The Coptic Orthodox Church apparently fears Evangelical missionary efforts, while Evangelicals are saying members are leaving Orthodox churches because of stagnancy and unresponsiveness to changing times.

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