One reason I enjoy browsing the Middle East blog 'Aqoul is that the writers speak so freely about life in the region. No undue piety on display here. Bint Ash-Shaitan's account of prayers at a Saudi mosque is a perfect example. What was it she objected to? Deeply moved by the service at first, she then heard the imam say this:
"O God, defeat the Christians and Jews, decimate their numbers, shatter their unity and cleanse the earth of them that there not be a single one left alive."
MEMRI is dangerous as it is creating spin that is fundamentally dangerous, spin that tends to push for "Clash of Civilizations"...
Now, I've linked to MEMRI before, and I probably will again in the future. But I'll bear those words in mind. I'm not sure either that it's a good idea to have one of their ads running on this page. (I don't choose the commercials; they come direct from Pajamas Media.)
UPDATE: A response from a reader who has a particular interest in Middle Eastern politics:
I haven't seen any comments or analysis on the MEMRI site - just translations (their accuracy, as far as I know, hasn't been successfully challenged; the best George Galloway could come up with a few months ago on Radio 4's 'Any Questions?' was "It is an Israeli site!").
They don't select their sources at random (who does?), but the claim that MEMRI pushes for "Clash of Civilizations" by exposing odious views of Mid Eastern mullahs and politicians (some of whom take a totally different tone when speaking for a Western audience) is grotesque.
UPDATE 2: Here's a fresh source of opinions on the region:
Qahwa Sada ("Black Coffee") is a new blog-journal by Middle East experts, edited by Marc Lynch of Abu Aardvark (though "edited" might be too strong a word - "organized" might be closer to the mark.)