New and Noteworthy in Arab and Islamic Affairs, 9-10-17

A fuzzy encounter between the U.S. Navy and Iran, an intra-Jewish spat over relations with Qatar, and scrappy decisions in Algiers. To subscribe to this daily roundup, click here.

Iran claims it confronted a U.S. Navy vessel and the U.S. issues a denial. Reuters cites Tasnim News Agency as saying an “Iranian military vessel confronted an American warship in the Gulf and warned it to stay away from a damaged Iranian fishing boat.” U.S. Naval Central Command acknowledged it heard a small boat’s distress call 75 miles away but “at no time was there any direct contact between the U.S. and Iranian maritime forces.”

Qatar pays a Jewish-owned PR firm to court American Jewsbut a Chabad rabbi warns Jews that Doha has blood on its handsTimes of Israel: “Qatar is paying $50,000 a month for outreach to the Jewish community to a prominent Jewish Republican operative at a time when the Persian Gulf nation is facing calls for isolation from other moderate Arabs and by conservatives in Washington, DC.” Full page ad in the New York Times from Rabbi Shmuley Boteach: “If Qatar wants a PR makeover, stop funding terror … Until then, those involved in efforts to rehabilitate and legitimize Qatar will bring shame to themselves and ruin to countless more innocent lives. Meeting with Qatar condones murder.”

Algeria rejects a Spanish ambassador and draws fire from Human Rights Watch over treatment of minorities. Madrid tried to send José Maria Ridao, a formed ambassador to UNESCO, to represent Spain, but Algiers slammed him for his history of visits and lectures in Morocco. Meanwhile, an HRW communique calls the arrest of Mohamed Fali, president of Algeria’s Ahmadiyya community, “the latest example of a crackdown on the religious minority.” It notes that 266 Ahmadis among a community of 2,000 have faced bogus prosecution over the past 15 months.

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