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Ayoon Wa Azan (Waking Nightmares).

I read that a review of 63 scientific studies from 1928 to the present day has found that religious people are less intelligent than non-believers.

The review, which was conducted by the University of Rochester in New York, found that only 10 out of 63 studies had found a correlation between intelligence and faith.

The new study defined intelligence as the ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, learn quickly, and learn from experience.

The people behind the review could have saved themselves a lot of trouble and money wasted on 63 studies, if they had only consulted the genius blind poet Abu al-Al al-Mrri, who said nearly a thousand years go: The people of the world are divided into two kinds, One sort with brains who hold no religion, the other with religion and no brain.

I note the study but do not endorse it. The above serves as an introduction to the discussion of waking nightmares I am having with fundamentalist groups, which are now present in nearly every Arab country, including terror groups that raise the banner of religion when religion is innocent of their ilk.

There is terrible terrorism in Sinai, where soldiers and policemen come under routine terror attacks, and are slaughtered even as they are Muslims. The terrorists do not have the right to kill anyone from any religion; they are not the agents of our Lord on his Earth, and their ideology is deviant and wrong.

I read that many of the terrorists' weapons and funds come from Libya, where the security situation is collapsing further day after day. The group called Ansar al-Shari is benefiting from these circumstances to expand its influence, particularly in Benghazi, where the residents have staged demonstrations against the radical group in the aftermath of the assassination of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and others in the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate. Those victims were supposed to enjoy safe conduct and immunity from hostilities under Islam, which prohibits killing them.

Ansar al-Shari is also present in Tunisia, where Muslim soldiers have been killed at the hands of terrorists who claim to be Muslim when they in reality have nothing to do with Islam.

Tunisia is a country of limited resources, and income from tourism is a key component of its GDP. And yet, extremists have attacked bars or liquor stores there, even when these are intended for foreigners, like the French, Italian, or German tourists, who may decide not to visit Tunisia if they find out that they can't find alcohol there.

In Morocco, the situation is better, but only until further notice I fear. Indeed, last year, King Mohammed VI pardoned Salafist leaders accused of masterminding the bombings of 2003 in Casablanca. They reacted by entering the political game, so hopefully they will remain in it instead of biding their time for an opportunity to pounce on the democratic process.

Certainly, the situation is much worse in Egypt, where the Muslim Brotherhood failed in power and does not want others to succeed. In Syria, there is a daily tragedy with relentless killing and destruction without an end in sight. However, I routinely write about the situation in Egypt and Syria, each separately, so I do not need to tackle this issue in detail today.

Iraq is now a theater for al-Qaeda's criminal activities, and is also witnessing an undeclared civil war. The terrorists there did not respect even the holy month of fasting or Eid al-Fitr, but only stepped up their crimes, killing Muslims in the name of Islam; I say they are seditionists who betrayed religion and humanity. Meanwhile, our eastern gates are now only open to Iran.

In Bahrain, there are groups which I always said have legitimate demands, but I condemn their leaders whom I accuse of treason, as they seek to establish clerical rule in a prosperous country, to invite sanctions, international boycott, and blight its people.

Bahraini opposition leaders are loyal only to the ayatollahs in Qom. Recently, the opposition called for a Friday of Rage, but we did not see much rage, and it seems that the opposition folk have since calmed down, perhaps pending new orders from Qom. I am not Bahraini, but I claim to love Bahrain more than they do.

Yemen, for its part, has become a base for al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, giving a pretext to U.S. drone strikes there, which have always killed more civilians than the terrorists they target. In the first two weeks of this month, U.S. strikes killed nearly 50 people. A U.S. statement said that 14 of them at least were members of al-Qaeda, which means that the rest are civilians, and mostly likely innocent.

As I go over the situation in every Arab country, I say I am in a nightmare. Then I find that the waking nightmares are much, much worse.

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Publication:Dar Al Hayat, International ed. (Beirut, Lebanon)
Article Type:Column
Date:Aug 22, 2013
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