Brownback’s Islamist embrace
International | Plus NASA scientist sentenced in Turkey and more news and notes from around the world
by Mindy Belz
Posted 2/09/18, 02:59 pm
UNITED STATES: Apparently the cost of U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback receiving no Democratic support in his Senate confirmation is to make overtures to controversial Islamist leaders, but this is not Trump policy as advertised. In his first official speech, Brownback embraced controversial Sheikh Abdullah Bin Bayyah at an interfaith Alliance of Virtue conference Tuesday held in conjunction with Thursday’s National Prayer Breakfast in Washington. Bin Bayyah, a Mauritanian, led the International Union of Muslim Scholars along with Yusuf al-Qaradawi when it called for jihad against U.S. soldiers in Iraq in 2004. He or al-Qaradawi also wrote fatwas calling for the elimination of Israel and supporting suicide bombers. The Obama White House and State Department had to recant showing favorable treatment to Bin Bayyah, and it’s yet to be seen whether the Trump administration will do the same.
TURKEY: Authorities in Turkey have convicted NASA scientist Serkan Golge of ties to a terror organization and sentenced him to prison after nearly 18 months in jail. Golge, a senior researcher at the Johnson Space Center in Houston who holds both U.S. and Turkish citizenship, is one of at least seven Americans jailed in Turkey on trumped-up charges filed under emergency laws in effect since a failed 2016 coup.
A tense standoff between U.S. forces based in Manbij and Turkish forces fighting in nearby Afrin provoked senior American commanders to visit the front lines in Syria this week.
SOUTH KOREA: The 23rd Winter Olympics opened Friday (some events aired Thursday night in the United States due to the time difference)—with frigid temperatures and a symbolic thaw as athletes from the divided Korean Peninsula marched together. WORLD Magazine has a preview of events and athletes to watch.
GLOBAL: As U.S. stock indexes officially slide into correction territory—signaled by a 10 percent drop in market value since a January peak—Asian and European markets also are feeling the hurt.
It’s an odd time for Pope Francis to be making nice with Beijing.
IRELAND: Spines once were considered the backs of books, and storing them vertically is a recent invention, anyway.
I’M READING: City of Stone: The Hidden History of Jerusalem by Meron Benvenisti.
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