"A crackdown on the Egyptian opposition continues its second day with the warrant for the arrest of 19 activists including every single Kefayah leader (the Egyptian secular opposition group), and three of Egypt’s most prominent bloggers: Wael Abbas, Mohamed Sharqawi, and Alaa seif el-Islam.
These arrests are not the only blows to freedom of speech in Egypt: Just last week the appeal for the detained Egyptian blogger Abdel Karim Soliman got rejected, and a lawsuit demanding the shut down of 21 more websites and blogs has been filed. Freedom of speech, for the lack of a better expression, is dying in Egypt."
Kefaya anti-Mubarak demonstration
First person report regarding police crack down on Kefaya demonstration; at least 35 detained. Lots of photographs in this report.
On February 18, 2007, Saudi ambassador to the United States, Prince Turki al- Faisal, resigned. He stressed that the Saudi-US relations were strong.
A little history about the branch of Muhammadanism taught in Saudi Arabia:
Wahhabism accepts the Qur'an and hadith as fundamental texts, interpreted upon the understanding of the first three generations of Islam. It also accepts various commentaries including Ibn Abd al-Wahhab's book called Kitab al-Tawhid ("Book of Monotheism"), and the works of the earlier scholar Ibn Taymiyya (1263–1328).
Wahhabis do not follow any specific madhhab (method or school of jurisprudence), but claim to interpret the words of the prophet Muhammad directly, using the four maddhab for reference. However, they are often associated with the Hanbali maddhab. Wahhabi theology advocates a puritanical and legalistic stance in matters of faith and religious practice.
In 1924 the Wahhabi al-Saud dynasty conquered Mecca and Medina, the Muslim holy cities. This gave them control of the Hajj, the annual pilgrimage, and the opportunity to preach their version of Islam to the assembled pilgrims. However, Wahhabism was a minor current within Islam until the discovery of oil in Arabia, in 1938. Vast oil revenues gave an immense impetus to the spread of Wahhabism. Saudi laypeople, government officials and clerics have donated many tens of millions of US dollars to create religious schools, newspapers and outreach organizations.
"In Saudi Arabia, codes of public modesty are strictly enforced by the Islamic religious police, or Mutaween (“Authority for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice”). These police, who's values stem from the Wahhabi movement, have the power to arrest men and women for socializing in public, or for violating perceived modesty standards in the country. Many public beatings, amputations of the hands and feet, and executions have taken place in Saudia Arabia after people were arrested for violating modesty codes or accepted sexual practices (i.e. practicing homosexuality).?
President Bush and many Congresspeople consider the Saudis as allies of the USofA?