In The Name Of God The Most Merciful, Most Compassionate

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Al Jazeera is loved by some and hated by others – like George W Bush who wanted to bomb their headquarters in Qatar until convinced it wasn’t such a good idea by Tony Blair. From small beginnings, the Qatar-based channel has now become the world’s best-known – and most influential – source of news from the Middle East.

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This year’s Arab Spring has meant tough times for the tourism industry across North Africa and the Middle East. With popular uprisings leading to regime change in Egypt and Tunisia, popular beach resorts such as Egypt’s Sharm el-Sheikh were left deserted in the early part of the year, as holiday companies evacuated European tourists.

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More democracy is bringing more political Islam in the countries of the Arab Spring, but Islamist statements about sharia or religion in politics are only rough indicators of what the real effect might be.

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No one knows exactly who is fomenting the discontent between Christian Copts and Muslims in Egypt, but many are certain it is being stoked by supporters of dictatorships in the Arab world. According to Egyptians, there are people who are now looking to cause tensions between the rich and poor, the middle class and the wealthy, the peasants and the city, Christians and Muslims – trying to show the new system is not working.

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Obama’s abject surrender to Israel on the Palestine question has shocked much of the world and gravely damaged the United States’ standing among Arabs and Muslims. If he’s now driven to use the US veto at the UN Security Council to block the application of a Palestinian state for UN membership, he will have been defeated by the very forces of Islamophobia he once hoped to tame.

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The anxiety caused by the Arab Spring among the Israeli public became a reality this weekend, when protesters broke into the Israeli Embassy in Cairo, and expelled the Israeli diplomats from their country. A few days earlier the Israeli ambassador was expelled from Ankara the only difference is that in Turkey, the government initiated the downgrading of ties, while in Egypt the people did so against the will of their rulers.

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Mubarak with his sons in cages, and in this case the picture is worth a million words. The entire Arab world is watching with awe as a despot deemed invincible just some months ago is facing his destiny.

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Polygamy has become passe — at least for young people in Indonesia and Malaysia. Among majority-Muslim countries, polygamy is recognized and practiced widely in Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Sudan. Egypt and Jordan permit it but tightly regulate the practice (written permission needs to be granted from the wife beforehand). Turkey, Tunisia, and Morocco ban the practice.

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What’s happening in Egypt? Mubarak may be gone, but the new order is floundering. Something has gone badly wrong with the Egyptian revolution and fury is returning as people still demand change.

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Since the uprising began in Bahrain, journalists such as Dhaif have been targeted and arrested by the government. Lamees Dhaif tells Al Jazeera: “They can stop us from telling stories now, but they can’t stop us forever.”

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