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Zafar Bangash on Saudi Mismanagement of Pilgrimage, Eric Walberg on Post-US-Occupation Afghanistan

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First 30 minutes: Zafar Bangash discusses his new article “Saudi Regime’s Arbitrary Restrictions on Hajj and Umrah“: “(The Saudis’) latest assault on pilgrims’ right to perform Umrah was announced by the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah Pilgrims last month. It set an arbitrary age limit of 18 – 50 years for Umrah pilgrims. The pandemic has become its standard excuse for such decisions…Earlier this year, the Hajj numbers were also restricted to 60,000 (it was an improvement on last year’s limit of 1,000) but only people residing in the kingdom could perform Hajj. Muslims from the rest of the world were barred entry.”

Meanwhile the Saudis are holding gigantic pop music festivals attracting crowds of 200,000+, inviting in Israeli tourists, and building Las Vegas style “gambling meccas” on the Red Sea shore. Is it time for Muslims to divest these corrupt, decadent billionaire bandits of control over the Islamic holy places?

Final 30 minutes: Eric Walberg‘s new article “Afghan Emirate’s challenge to the world” offers plenty of trenchant but taboo observations:

“The hysteria about girls schooling ignores the well-documented but little known fact that almost all the schools (80%) that were supposedly educating girls throughout the country were nonfunctioning or even nonexistent. And those teachers who were actually being paid were just pocketing the money (much of it first taken by local officials, who in turn funneled a portion to warlords).

“In fact, all schooling was mostly nonexistent, even for boys, so Afghanistan is actually less literate now, thanks to the US invasion, than it was 20 years ago, and even less literate than in 1978, the last year of peace…”


“The US has a standard operating procedure: bomb the enemy to smithereens. If that doesn’t work, bomb some more. Then find some civilians who have been riddled with your bullets, fly them to Bagram air base for (the best) emergency treatment, try and fit the body pieces together, and presto! a human interest story highlighting how noble you are, how scientific. If that still doesn’t work and you’re getting flak at home, then cut your losses, pull out, and move on to the next enemy…”

During the broadcast Eric recommends the work of Tahir Mahmoud, a journalist who has written on Afghanistan and other regional issues.

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