This summer, foreign ministers from 57 Islamic countries met in Yemen to devise a strategy for a summit of the Organization of the Islamic Conference to be held in November at Mecca. A communique warned "the international community to the dangers deriving from Zionism, neo-conservative ideology, aggressive Christian Evangelism, Jewish radicalism, Indian radicalism, and secular radicalism."
Details of such "dangers" frequently appear in the Arab and Iranian press and have been documented in past columns. The following highlights their Top 10 conspiracy theories of the summer:
10. On June 30 a London-based, Arabic daily, Al-Quds Al-Arabi, quoted a conservative member of Iran's parliament, Shakir Allah Attar Zadeh, as saying that Secretary of State Rice's hostility toward his country stems from her Iranian boyfriend leaving her during her schooldays. Similarly, an editorial in the Tehran Times on July 14 stated that America is cooperating with the Taliban and is behind the increase in drug smuggling in Afghanistan.
9. Palestinian Arab leaders - such as Farouk Qaddumi in the Tehran Times of July 13 - have continued to accuse Israel of poisoning Yasser Arafat. The commander of Arafat's Presidential Guard, Munir Al-Zu'bi, reiterated the claim on August 13 on Al-Arabiya TV.
8. In another London Arabic daily, Al-Hayat, writer Adel Malek on June 28 allegedly revealed the contents of a secret "U.S.-Israeli memorandum" that detailed a plan to strike Syria and Lebanon, "eliminate Assad," and arrest Hezbollah's leader, Nasrallah. Similarly, an Arab novelist and political analyst, Sherif Hetata, wrote in the Egyptian weekly Al-Ahram of June 23-29 about a planned "joint U.S.-Israeli strike against Iran in the works." Mr. Hetata called for a grassroots movement to unseat "war criminals in the U.S., Britain, and Israel."
7. Following the assassination of Egypt's ambassador to Iraq, a former Egyptian ambassador to Afghanistan, Ahmad El-Ghamrawi, in an interview with Islam Online blamed the Mossad for the crime. A member of Lebanese parliament, Marwan Fares, was quoted on June 24 in the Syrian government daily Teshreen as blaming the Mossad for the assassination of the secretary-general of the Lebanese Communist Party, George Hawi.
6. An July 11 article in the Tehran Times said that America had not captured Osama bin Laden or Ayman al-Zawahri to keep Americans scared of terror attacks and to allow the war to continue. Similarly, an article in the Turkish daily Zaman on July 9 stated: "Al Qaeda rather serves Western imperialist goals ... If the Al Qaeda factor had not emerged, would American expansionism have found so much legitimacy, at least within its own public opinion."
5. In Egypt, a debate has surrounded the translation of a 19th-century biography of Mohammed by the author "Reverend George Bush." The book called Mohammed "an imposter" and as the Al-Ahram Weekly reported in July, called Muslims "locusts." According to the State Department, the author of the book is not a direct ancestor of the president, as the Egyptian press asserted.
4. Following reports earlier this year that the Sudan genocide was a Jewish conspiracy, an article on July 22-23 in the London Arabic daily Azzaman made similar, though more detailed, claims.
3. A book reviewed by Hassan Hanizadeh in the Iranian daily Mehr News of July 3, on the history of the Jews included a chapter on how "certain Jewish rabbis distort the Old Testament." Similarly, an article by Hasssan Tahsin in the Saudi Arab News of July 8 discussed Russians in Israel: "Russian Jews can't be buried in Jewish cemeteries ... Jewish families are not allowed to host Russian Jews ... A Russian may be killed if he was found speaking Russian ... Parents teach their children to refer to Russian Jews and Christians as pigs and gentiles."
2. The bombings at Sharm Al-Sheikh on July 23 were blamed on Israel - including by Mustafa Bakri in Al-Asbu', who pointed to a "Mossad branch in Baghdad," and an attorney for Egypt's Supreme Court of Appeals, General Osama Halawa. On July 25, the Iranian daily Kayhan International blamed the "Mossad operating behind the camouflage of Al Qaeda" and wrote that "the Zionists" were also behind London's bombings.
1. The London bombings were the subject of the most wide-ranging conspiracies this summer. The Mufti of Mt. Lebanon, Dr. Muhammad Al-Jozo. blamed the Zionists on ANB TV on July 24. Iran's minister of information, Ali Younesi, was quoted by IRNA as pointing to "U.S. and Israeli Intelligence" who have "infiltrated Saudi Arabia, Palestinian, and even European States" including London.