EU and Arab states to meet over foreign fighters in Syria

February 7, 2014

 

Experts from the European Union and eight Arab countries plus Turkey will hold a meeting in Brussels on Tuesday, February 11th to discuss threats posed by foreign fighters in Syria, according to a source at Al Arabiya News Channel.

The source said EU countries are increasingly worried about hundreds of young European Muslims who have travelled to Syria to carry out jihad. Many of them, he said, have joined al-Qaeda affiliated groups like the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or al-Nusra Front.

The Arab countries invited to the meeting are Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Irann, Libya, and Tunisia.

French President Francois Hollande said last month that 700 people had left France to join the fighting in Syria in what he called a “worrying” trend.

“A certain number of young Frenchmen and young foreigners living in France… are fighting in Syria – 700 are listed, that’s a lot. Some are dead,” Hollande told a press conference in Paris.

Hollande said young people needed to be warned about the dangers of going to Syria and that France needed to “fight against a certain number of networks and havens that sustain terrorism.”

French officials have warned of the dangers from French citizens fighting with extremist and al-Qaeda linked groups in Syria.

Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said this week that more than 400 people were either ready to go to Syria, were in the country or had been and returned.

Western security officials have raised fears that foreign fighters trained in Syria could carry out attacks on home soil. Officials say about 20 French citizens have died in the Syria conflict. The country was unsettled last week when reports emerged of two brothers who had converted to Islam dying within four months of each other in the conflict.

Source: http://www.albawaba.com/conflict-syria/eu-syria-552919

The truth about Arab science

In regards to the medical case of British citizen Hannah Clark, who has survived the first “piggyback” heart transplantation and has now fully recovered, author Khaled Diab questions the relationship of Arab science and the Islamic religion. The doctor who undertook this surgery, Magdi Yacoub, is an Egyptian who did not find his success in his own country but in Britain, where he is now one of the most esteemed heart surgeons and researchers and where he furthermore obtained both citizenship and knighthood.

Diab holds Arab countries responsible for hindering scientists to make a career and for science in general to spread, and it is not surprising that the Western world is far more advanced. While he affirms that the Quran can be interpreted in line with some modern science, he warns that other proved scientific aspects are rejected for moral reasons, such as confusing homosexuality with illness. Finally Diab calls for more investment of the Arab states into science, but also to hold universal truths over religious “truths”.

Arab states lobby against Dutch anti-Islam film

Arab states attending the European Union Arab League meeting in Malta lobbied the Dutch government against a controversial anti-Islam film soon to be released in the Netherlands. The foreign ministers of Syria, Egypt, and Morocco spoke against the film. Dutch far right leader Geert Wilders is behind the short 15-minute film, which according to speculation, denounced the Quran as a fascist book, and claims that the Muslim holy book incites people to commit murder. Political leaders are worried about another flare-up of cross-cultural conflict, similar to those that erupted in 2006 after the Danish publication of cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad. The Dutch government is reported to be preparing against a possible international backlash and has already instructed its embassies on how to act after the film’s release.