New Age Islam Edit Bureau
23 January 2016
Dealing With Hate-Mongers
By Harun Yahya
Not Trump, We Need Grown Ups To Lead
A World In Turmoil
By Fareed Zakaria
Saudi Art Council Promotes Saudi
Artists As Catalysts For Progressive Expression
By Samar Fatany
Why Do We Fear Cinema In Saudi
By Saad Al-Dosari
Davos: with the Saudis Absent,
Zarif’s Fairy Tales Prevailed
By Faisal J. Abbas
Playing On Public Fears
By Abdulrahman Al-Rashed
Many factors have been involved in
triggering wars down the ages. History, therefore, gives the impression of
being a huge battleground in which terrible tragedies occurred. The number of
wars between states in 1819-1949 has been estimated at 289. Even at times of no
world wars, the number of people who lost their lives in local conflicts is
known to exceed 100 million.
The 20th century was the scene of world
wars fought to the bitter end between countries that had learned nothing from
previous wars. As if the ghastly devastation of WWI were not enough, the great
powers then started WWII, in which 53 million people, 60 percent of whom were
civilians, lost their lives. Forty million had to abandon their homes and
migrate. The total cost of the war has been estimated at $8 trillion, by 1996
In the wake of that tragedy, states thought
of solutions to prevent the same insanity happening again. The United Nations
was an initiative on the part of states that grasped the illogicality of wars.
New world wars were prevented, but states were still unable to prevent
conflicts. The Swedish research institute SIPRI says that as many as103 armed
conflicts occurred between 1989 and 1997. Six of these were between countries.
The devastation wreaked in the 2000s has been even greater.
Despite their terrible experience,
countries never tried any other means of resolving disputes. Past years have
seen political speeches, official meetings, followed by harsh words and wars
starting with invasions.
Later generations that never knew the ugly
face of world wars once again sought to resolve disputes through conflict and
war. Democracy offered a concept of freedom capable of preventing the logic of
war. Yet for countries and people that were unfamiliar with democracy, very little
changed. More was needed to tell them of that freedom and the concept of
compromise. The world needed a system of ideas to eliminate the way of thinking
that legitimized war, in other words, “hatred.”
Everyone focused on the ideological and
political reasons behind wars. They never considered that wars are in fact a
consequence of the feelings of hatred. In the past, states fought other states
they hated. In our age, peoples that hated one another were involved. The
hatred that developed was so great that is exceeded even national sentiments.
People came to have no qualms about killing their brothers, friends or
This weakness, hatred in other words,
became the prime card in the hand of those mafia-like secret forces within
states that wished to keep the running of the world in their own hands. They
deliberately stoked up a climate of turmoil for that purpose and shaped the
course of orange revolutions accordingly. Their aim was to produce a fertile
climate for revolutions and uprisings by inciting hatred between people. Once
the seeds of hatred had been sown in a society it was always easy to muddy the
waters in it. Divisions within society have always been used to that end. These
secret forces sprinkled hatred around like petrol and then wreaked devastation
on whole countries by setting fire to it. They produced communities that were
easily led by propaganda and employed lovelessness as the most common tool for
When secret state apparatuses decided to
bring a country down, they first made its people loveless and full of hate. The
rest followed like night follows day. Middle Eastern countries that are now
experiencing the wars of the 21st century need to be on their guard in that
context. These countries have generally believed that they can put an end to
disagreements and tensions by force. History shows many examples of this. Yet
this historic error is the cause of the current upheaval in the Middle East.
Force and violence have sown the seeds of hatred in these communities and given
rise to unhappy societies.
If countries in this restless area known as
the Middle East wish to put an end to the conflicts around them, then they must
renounce the mentality of war. But they could not forget it; wars stem, not
from political or ideological differences, but from the hatred that people,
races, societies and communities feel for one another. The way that love has
today been forgotten comes as quite normal to everyone. When the word “love” is
mentioned they imagine the speaker is referring to a utopia. A single word on
the social media can immediately cause people to hate. No motivation is needed
to bring that about. Yet it is the most awful hard work to get anyone to say
one word of love. It is easy to encourage this disposition to hatred in human
nature, while inculcating love takes hard work. If countries wish to escape
disagreements, grow, regenerate and live in peace, then they must first put in
In order for love to appear, it is first
essential to weaken the influence of the peddlers of hate. When it comes to the
Middle East, the fanatic mindset has a huge capacity to disseminate hatred. The
antidote to that lies in establishing the predominance of the true teachings of
When that happens, the ghastly objectives of
the secret state apparatuses that have been laying plans for the past 100 years
will fail. Because there will be no more population they can easily provoke. In
order to bring that about, states must first believe that love is the solution
to their problems.
Harun Yahya has authored more than 300 books translated into 73 languages
on politics, religion and science.
Not Trump, We Need Grown Ups to Lead a
World in Turmoil
January 23, 2016
That sense of a "difficult world"
is palpable. There is more anxiety in the air than any time since the global
Conversations here at the World Economic
Forum might begin with the global economy, but sooner or later they turn to
Donald Trump. The Republican primary contest has gotten everyone's attention.
Some remain entertained, but many of the people I've spoken with are worried.
As one European CEO said to me, "We're moving into a very difficult world.
We need grown-ups in charge."
The worry is reflected in the world's stock
markets, which have collectively lost trillions of dollars since the start of
the year. People still believe that the worst will not come to pass. China will
not crash; America will not fall into a recession; Europe will not come apart.
But in recent years, the conventional wisdom has been wrong on so many issues.
Roger Altman, former deputy treasury
secretary, pointed out to me that few experts predicted oil and commodity
prices would collapse or that growth would slump in China and crater in Brazil,
South Africa and many other emerging markets. No one saw that, even as America
achieved full employment, wages would not rise, inflation would stay stubbornly
muted, and interest rates would remain low. And no one predicted the rise of
Daesh or its ability to inspire terror attacks in countries far outside the
Altman wonders whether we have finally
arrived at the moment predicted in Alvin Toffler's 1970 book "Future
Shock" when the global system is so complex and changing so fast that it
outpaces any ability to analyze and understand it.
Many of the trends now afoot, interacting
with each other, could move faster and further than people realize. As the
stock market falls, businesses and consumers get worried and pull back,
spending less and saving more. A fall in oil prices is generally good for all
countries except the major producers of petroleum. But a fall this far, this
fast could produce a credit crisis and a deflationary spiral.
And technological innovation is not quite a
silver bullet to achieve broad-based prosperity. It is clear that dramatic
improvements in technology, especially software, do not translate easily into
wage increases for the average worker. We're even seeing high-tech products
cannibalize each other.
The digital camera was the way of the
future, destroying old-fashioned film. But now camera sales are collapsing as
phones have more than enough camera power for most people.
I don't know where it all goes. But in
periods like this, open systems like America's will do better than closed ones.
The United States often looks like a dysfunctional country because all its
problems are on display and debated daily. Everything - economic strategy,
monetary policy, homeland security, police practices, and infrastructure - is
out there and open for constant criticism.
But this transparency means that people
have information, and it forces the country to look at its problems, grapple
with them and react. While it's a messy, sometimes ugly process, the American
system takes in a lot of diverse, contradictory information and responds. It
seems dysfunctional but it is actually highly adaptive.
Closed Systems Often Look Much Better.
A country like China, with its tightly
centralized decision-making, has been the envy of the world. People across the
globe have marvelled at the government's ability to make decisions, plan for
the future and build gleaming infrastructure.
And when China was growing, we all were
amazed by the efficiency of the system. But now that growth has stalled, no one
is sure why, what went wrong, who's to blame, or whether it is being fixed. A
black box produces awe when things go well. But when they don't, that same
opacity causes anxiety and fear.
The biggest question about the world
economy right now is: What is going on inside China's black box? The country
is, after all, the second-largest economy on the planet, and the engine
powering global growth in recent years. Its remarkable opacity is not simply
about economics but rather about politics and governance in general.
These days American politics is showcasing
turmoil, rage and rebellion. But that's ultimately a strength in these
fast-changing times. People are angry. The economy, the society and the country
are being transformed. The fact that politics reflects these changes is a
strength, not a weakness. It allows the nation to absorb, react, adapt - and then
At least that's what I tell foreigners and
myself - with fingers firmly crossed - as I watch the craziness on the campaign
Fareed Zakaria is the host of the CNN show Fareed Zakaria GPS
Saudi Art Council Promotes Saudi Artists
As Catalysts For Progressive Expression
Jan 23, 2016
Today, public art and cultural programs are
a positive means not only to cultivate appreciation for beauty and fine taste
but more importantly to educate society and provide the opportunity to
strengthen creative ideas and inspire citizens with hope, influencing a more
positive attitude toward life and community.
Globally, pubic art initiatives are recognized as important measures
that add a sense of pride and identity to developing societies.
In Saudi Arabia, the Saudi Art Council
(SAC) is playing a leading role in engaging the public in the development of
art and culture, encouraging artwork that reflects the history of Jeddah and
supporting talented young artists and offering art education to school children
and college students. The initiative pays tribute to the past and present
history of Jeddah and has contributed to the transformation of Al-Balad
district area into a lively arts and cultural district. The initiative has also
introduced a dialogue between local artists and the rest of the world and
promoted the city of Jeddah as a vibrant cultural base for local, regional and
international artists expanding beyond the current borders of the Kingdom’s
SAC will be holding its third initiative
under the theme “Earth and Ever After” from February to May 2016. The
initiative this year invites us to reflect on humanity’s relationship with our
planet. The Council could not have picked a better theme to promote a more
humane approach toward the Earth that remains under the threat of nuclear wars
and global warming. Indeed our region is in dire need of a new approach that is
more caring and more protective toward the Earth.
SAC member Mona Khazindar laments on how
the “ecosystems have begun to disappear as a result of greed and omens that
reveal how far we have strayed from our humanity”. She said that despite our
flaws, “the Earth is giving and remains a place of abundance, and above all,
the Earth has bestowed upon us infinite beauty that can be seen everywhere.”
This spiritual and noble perspective is
very much needed to remind us about how wars continue to destroy the world
around us and it prompts us to feel more responsible for protecting our
environment and preserving the Earth. “This exhibition invites you to reflect
on humanity’s relationship with the Earth, to explore whether it is reconciled
with their own personal bond and how an artist’s environment is inextricably
bound to his sense of identity and roots,” Khazindar said. Hopefully, the
public art initiative will enhance public responsibility and encourage Saudi
artists to act as catalysts for creative thinking and progressive
expression. Art can bring people
together inspiring new ideas and intellectual exploration.
The public art initiative is more than just
promoting art for art’s sake but rather for energizing civic sense and raising
Art today has become a global vehicle to
energize intellectual thought, contrary to the early 19th century trend when
the popular term “art for art’s sake” promoted a different philosophy. Before,
“the intrinsic value of art, and the only true art, was divorced from any didactic,
moral or utilitarian function”. Today, however, public art initiatives are
means for energizing intellectual thought. Expressions of art are used to
address discrimination and condemn injustice, violence, racism and extremism.
Works of art can be inspirational
expressions and bold statements of empowerment. They can provide alternative
ways of seeing things and highlighting different perceptions of common trends
or prevalent ideas. Artists today relate to public interests and concerns and
they reach out toward international connections and global concerns.
The message of art can be more powerful
than words. Our message through art can certainly have a stronger impact in the
global arena than any propaganda rhetoric.
Art transcends boundaries. Picasso is as celebrated in China as in his
own country. Mughal miniatures are objects of admiration in any art museum.
Today, the works of many Saudi artists have achieved international acclaim. The
role of Princess Jawaher Bint Majid, President of Al-Mansouria Foundation and
Chairwoman of the Saudi Art Council, in promoting Saudi artists and investing
in community-based arts and culture programs is a step in the right
direction. More government funding and
private sector investment in museums, art galleries and exhibitions as well as
financial support for professional artists, arts specialists and connoisseurs
of art are the need of the hour. It is time we empower a network of Saudi
artists to exchange ideas, collaborate on projects and inspire artistic innovation
and global outreach to confront major global issues of war and peace,
anti-Muslim cartoons, Islamophobia and misconceptions about Islam.
The role of SAC in promoting art and
culture in Jeddah should be recognized as a valuable national contribution
toward nation building.
Samar Fatany is a radio broadcaster and writer.
Why Do We Fear Cinema In Saudi Arabia?
The General Commission for Audiovisual
Media recently denied claims that a Saudi investor and an official authority
had entered into negotiations to open the Kingdom’s first cinema. As usual, the
denial made it look as if the news was real when this was not the case.
Moreover, the Al-Ekhbariya Saudi TV channel earlier announced that it would
give special coverage to the issue but later deleted the announcement from its
social media handles.
Many people understand and appreciate the
position of government agencies regarding the issue of cinemas. This is because
these people believe that cinemas will be similar to the ones found and seen in
Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. So far, the agencies have not yet
responded to the demands of those who call for cinemas in the Kingdom on the
basis of encouraging culture and the arts. These individuals call for cinemas
to be opened under the umbrella of a government agency which would regulate
everything in terms of shows and attendance in a way that is properly suited to
Many people fear that cinemas will destroy
our values and ethics, but this is baseless and unjustified. Look around and
you will see one form of cinema or another inside most homes. Yet, the values
and ethics of society have not deteriorated. To alleviate the fear of those
opposed to cinemas, they can be introduced to the general public gradually.
For example, cinema shows can be run during
certain cultural and art events, just like the theatre shows presented by the
Riyadh Municipality during certain cultural events. If the results of such
shows are positive, and I am sure they will be, we can start presenting more
shows until we reach a time that the fear of those opposed disappears.
Davos: with the Saudis Absent, Zarif’s
Fairy Tales Prevailed
Iranian Foreign Secretary Mohammad Javad
Zarif certainly got a free ride at this year’s World Economic Forum. His views
on the region went completely unchallenged in the absence of a
counter-argument, and due to the format of his session, members of the audience
were not able to ask questions or intervene.
However, one must admit that Zarif’s
ability to twist facts is phenomenal! Indeed, had there been an award at Davos
for “Spin Doctor of the Year,” then he would have won it... hands down!
Iran’s FM made it seem like Tehran was the
region’s cuddly teddy bear who has been desperately trying to reconcile with
Saudi Arabia, which he naturally portrayed as the “big bad wolf.”
Frankly, I wasn’t sure if Zarif was being
serious or joking when he stressed in front of the WEF audience of global
movers and shakers that his country is a firm believer in diplomacy as a means
of resolving conflicts.
If this is the case, then what on earth is
the Iranian Quds Force (or paramilitary terrorist groups affiliated to it)
doing in Iraq and Syria? In fact, this elite Revolutionary Guard Unit is so
focused on destabilizing Iran's Arab neighbours that I honestly suggest it
should be renamed the “Anywhere-but-Quds Brigade.”
Furthermore, if the Iranian regime is truly
such a peace-loving dove, then perhaps it should consider withdrawing from the
three UAE islands it still occupies, stop supporting the murderous Assad regime
which has overseen the killing of 200 thousand people and stop backing Yemen’s
Houthi militias which staged a coup against the legitimate government of
Of course, none of these facts made its way
to Zarif's speech. Instead, he kept on attacking Saudi Arabia and claiming that
it has always been looking for an excuse to sever diplomatic ties.
Excuse me? How was Riyadh supposed to act
when - on top of all the aggression mentioned above - the Iranian regime sat
back and watched its thugs attack and set fire to the Saudi embassy in Tehran?
Zarif went on to stress that this attack
was officially condemned and that the perpetrators will be prosecuted. However,
he - unsurprisingly - didn't dwell much into how this attack was allowed to
happen in the first place under a regime which otherwise wouldn't allow a
mosquito to freely move without permission!
Naturally, not everyone in Davos bought the
Iranian narrative, however almost everyone I met said one thing: “we wish the
Saudis were here to be able to tell their side of the story.”
Naturally, not everyone in Davos bought the
Iranian narrative, however almost everyone I met said one thing: “we wish the
Saudis were here.”
Of course, this was a fair comment as the
Saudi participation was indeed low key compared to size, prominence and change
happening in the kingdom: a few ministers, government officials and prominent
businessmen, as well as a number of princes and individuals coming in their
However, I understand that behind closed
doors FM Zarif was taken to task on his country's shameful stance on Syria by a
former senior Saudi official. Unfortunately, only a handful of people - and no
media - saw that.
Now, the kingdom is not without its faults
and certainly not above criticism. However, until it is fairly represented and
publicly present at such important global events, this will only mean that Iran
can continue getting away with spinning the truth and Zarif's politically
incorrect fairy tales will prevail.
Faisal J. Abbas is the Editor-in-Chief of Al Arabiya English, he is a
renowned blogger and an award-winning journalist. Faisal covered the Middle
East extensively working for Future Television of Lebanon and both Al-Hayat and
Asharq Al-Awsat pan-Arab dailies. He blogs for The Huffington Post since 2008,
and is a recipient of many media awards and a member of the British Society of
Authors, National Union of Journalists, the John Adams Society as well as an
associate member of the Cambridge Union Society.
US presidential candidate Donald Trump
realizes that his popularity is partly due to playing on people’s fears about
Hispanic and Muslim immigrants. He has called for a ban on Muslims entering the
country until the government can differentiate between good and bad ones.
Americans usually take pride in their
immigrant origins, and say this is the reason for their country’s success. This
is true. Arabs and Muslims arrived 200 years ago and helped build the United
States, so they have a share in this historical legacy.
Trump does not explain how his proposal
will be implemented. There are a billion Muslims worldwide, and most countries
do not include religious affiliations in passports, so how would he recognize
them? There are Muslims with Chinese, Indian and western names. As with
Christianity, there are different Muslim sects.
If Trump decides to limit the ban to Arab
Muslims, there are more than 15 million Arab Christians. How will he recognize
them? What will he do with the five million Muslim Americans, the ancestors of
whom perhaps arrived in the United States before Trump’s grandfather?
His main concern is to reach the White
House. I do not believe that he means what he says against Muslims, because he
has had business dealings and personal relationships with them for decades, and
still does — more so than most Americans.
All those who have listened to the promises
of former presidential candidates during the past decades know that they will
always be subject to the laws of the country and its constitution, which is
considered higher than the decisions of the president and Congress.
I do not think there is still something to
be done that is legal and has not been applied by former presidents, whether
about illegal immigration or surveillance of Muslims. Putting restrictions on
terrorists and extremists benefits the Muslim majority affected by their
actions. It is unfortunate that he, or any other politician, would breach the
ethical norms and rules respected by most US presidential candidates, but we
should not overstretch Trump’s words.