Category Archives: Syria

Syria Witnesses Islamist Revival

Syria witnesses Islamist revival

by Kim Ghattas
BBC News, Damascus
February 22, 2006
For centuries, the traditional sound of Islam coming from the northern Syrian town of Aleppo, has been the rhythmical chanting of the word “Allah”, as men young and old rock back and forth in a small room in the back of a house.

Beating their drums, chanting faster and faster, the men hope to achieve a trance that will bring them closer to God in the traditions of the mystical or Sufi Islam.

The musical capital of the Arab world in many ways, Aleppo’s song and dance have been heavily influenced by Sufism.

But today, it is mostly a very austere call to prayer that can be heard around the city as a growing number of women adopt the full Islamic cover, hiding their hands and faces behind back cloth.Religion is making a comeback in Syria, where people feel the state’s socialist and pan-Arab ideologies have failed for the last four decades.

“We have a phenomenon of radicalisation taking place in schools and university,” said Salam Kawakibi, a political analyst in Aleppo.Mr Kawakibi said he was shocked when he was recently asked to get out of a city cab because the driver could smell he had a bottle of arak, a local aniseed sprit, with him; alcohol is banned by Islam.”The danger is the influence of Salafism and Wahhabism from Saudi Arabia, because all the Syrians who work there, come back with new practices which they impose on their families and entourage,” Mr Kawakibi said.

Continue reading


Leave a comment

Filed under Islamism, Syria

After Hariri’s murder, Damascus is under fire

After Hariri’s murder, Damascus is under fire
Syria: a concerted offensive

All eyes are on Syria as it stands accused of being behind the murder of the former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri. Even before the UN commission of inquiry was completed, the US was planning – with France – a concerted offensive against the Syrian regime. But destabilising President Bashar al-Assad could lead to regional chaos, given the fragility of Lebanon and near civil war in Iraq.

Ed: Article in full below

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Middle East & Muslim World, Syria

“Weblog of a Syrian Diplomat in America”

Have you ever wondered what the Syrian ambassador to the U.S. is thinking? Probably not, but if you are, Imad Moustafa, has a blog: Weblog of a Syrian Diplomat in America, The Journal of the envoy of Syria to the USA. One thing is clear, he likes dropping names, and heaping praise on the missus. A friend of mine thought it was a hoax (read it to see why) but as Joshua Landis writes in his blog,, the blog of Imad Mustafa is indeed the real deal.

Ed: I don’t know either why Imad Mustafa opts to spell Edward Said as Edouard in his blog; if you do please leave a comment.


Filed under Miscellaneous, Syria