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Benaras Is Like a Beautiful Woman
Saeed Naqvi

A hardened politician like Narendra Modi cannot see his constituency in its rich cultural context The ground for cultural commerce had been prepared by the great Sufis. The ambience they left behind mingled in the regions with influences of Bhakti, the wandering mendicants and Faquirs…..

 

Farewell, My Friend…
Sadia Dehlvi

I have lost my best friend, mentor and Humraaz, my secrets gone with him. Indian Muslims, Pakistanis and secularists too, have lost their best friend. Khushwant often reiterated, “I never turn away a Muslim or Pakistani from my door. My house is always open for them”. He pleaded the case for good relations, questioning why visas were needed to visit relatives and friends across the border. Remembering his last visit to Hadali, his ancestral village in Pakistan, Khushwant would become emotional, ‘Mai to Hajj Kar Aya. Mera To Makkah Pakistan Mai Hai’…..

 

Khushwant Singh: A Sardar Like no Other
Ayaz Amir

What is the good life? Is it the life lived in virtue? But what is virtue? It is different things to different people. What usually passes for virtue in our climate either sticks in the throat or is a stimulus to laughter. The line between virtue and hypocrisy is often a thin one, and in this country at least we have made ourselves masters, impresarios really, of hypocrisy: looking out for ourselves all the time but snivelling about the hereafter, our great preoccupation, and the nobility of our intentions......

 

Sattar is not the only one thinking on this line. Among the community, this feeling is getting stronger with the passage of every day. "This is also how the intellectual class and Muslim bodies are thinking and they agree that there should be tactical voting to ensure the win of a secular and winnable candidate in each constituency….

 

Egypt has been on an alarming downward spiral ever since the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak in 2011. Even so, the court verdict on Monday that condemned 529 Islamists to death for the killing of a single police officer last summer was a uniquely shocking example of a judicial system run amok…..

 

Abbas versus Dahlan: The Showdown Begins
Ramzy Baroud

This is not exactly the kind of history the Fatah leadership, Dahlan included, would like to remember. Such history is simply too dangerous as it underscores the reality that engulfed, and to a large degree, continues to shape the ruling class of the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah whose reach has touched upon every aspect of Palestinian life…..

 
‘Ban It- Block It’
Aiman Reyaz, New Age Islam

‘Ban It- Block It’
Aiman Reyaz, New Age Islam

Had it not been for the death sentence given by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeni, Salman Rushdie would not have been a common name, except in select literary circles. And so is the case with Taslima Nasrin. The more one tries to grip the sands inside the fist, the more it will slip away. Similarly the more any piece of art is banned or blocked; the more people will come to know about it. This is basic psychology. We generally desire to do what we are told not to do.....

The Arab World Has Lost Hope in Turkey
Sinem Cengiz

Arab countries at that time were impressed by the way Turkey achieved a balance between Islam and modernity, and its policies regarding the West and the Muslim world. They were looking forward to benefitting from the Turkish experience of political and judicial reforms....

 

What’s The Latest Situation in Syria?
Reyhan Güner

The increasing cooperation between the PYD and Sutoro, a Syriac Christian militia, reveals that new combinations and collaborations of ideologically, ethnically or even religiously different groups might be on the agenda in the upcoming days. This will make the Syrian crisis much more thorny to overcome and difficult to analyze. The fragile process in Syria is still waiting for a solution, which is becoming more difficult as time passes…..

 

...there is a misunderstanding among some people, mainly Muslims, that preservation of secularism is the exclusive responsibility of Muslims. This certainly is not the case. India is secular not because Muslims want it to be so, but because this country has evolved over millennia in a way that religion and its practice have been left out of the domain of the state. This is reflected in India's Constitution. It is relevant to note that Europe did not become secular to accommodate Jews, Muslims or Buddhists, but to protect people from sectarian strife within Christianity. US secularism has similar origins. India too is secular because of Hindus, not Muslims, Sikhs, Christians or Parsis.....

Sharif, Nisar and Imran: Three Men One Hero
Mehr F Husain

They say two’s company and three’s a crowd. But in a country where the left- wing, secular liberals cry out for war and the right- wing, Islamists preach dialogue when it comes to the question of how the TTP should be dealt with, it seems it’s a case of strength in numbers……

 

Omens of a Maelstrom in Pakistan
I.A. Rehman

THREE apparently unrelated developments point to a groundswell that could ultimately unhinge Pakistan from its democratic moorings. The three happenings are: the Taliban lobby’s campaign to frighten the government into yielding to the extremists, the Saudi gift of a sackful of dollars, and Maulana Shirani’s design to torpedo women’s rights. All three affairs betray a retrogressive mindset....

 

Did Terrorists Take Control Of Flight 370?
Peter Bergen

The al Qaeda-affiliated group, Jemaah Islamiyah, has a presence in Malaysia as well as in the Philippines and Indonesia. But the group has been under sustained law enforcement pressure for more than a decade after it bombed nightclubs on the Indonesian island of Bali in 2002, killing more than 200 people, mostly Western tourists. The group has also carried out bombings at the Australian Embassy in Indonesia and the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton Hotels in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta…….

 

Sixty-five years after the Indian Constitution promised that “the State shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code,” Muslims, Parsis, Christians, Jews, and Hindus all follow different family laws. Activists’ attempts to advocate for a uniform civil code have routinely been overridden by concerns from religious groups, who cite the freedom to practice their religion, which is a fundamental right under Article 25 of the Constitution......

 

New Milestone in India-Saudi Relations
Zikrur Rahman

Although some political analysts might consider the 10 years of the Manmohan Singh Government as a failure on the corruption front, the decade will go down in the annals of Indian political history for two reasons — first, the civil nuclear deal with the US, and second, the unprecedented improvement in our foreign relations with the Arab world, particularly Saudi Arabia.....

 

Anger As Cameron Tries To Superglue Britain to Israel
Stuart Littlewood

Showing solidarity with the Palestinians in their fight against Israeli terror doesn’t seem to be on Cameron’s agenda. Israel, of course, was founded on terror and is no democracy. It’s an ethnocracy, and a deeply ugly one. The Palestinians however did have a democracy but Britain, Israel and the U.S. stamped on it......

Afridi’s Googly and Council of Islamic Ideology’s No Ball
Beena Sarwar

Some years ago they declared that men who practice family planning would go bald. Last year, they decreed that DNA tests are unacceptable as primary evidence in rape cases. One hopes they never have to take recourse to DNA tests to get justice for any of their own family members. Thankfully, Shahid Afridi and the Council of Islamic Ideology have no actual powers to enforce their retrogressive views.…..

 

Changing Israel's Secular-Religious Status Quo
Kate Shutttleworth

Israel is tackling one of its most polarizing issues, the exemption of its most religious Jews from military service. A new law forcing the conscription of ultra-Orthodox Jews has led to widespread tensions....

 

The Many Shades of Grey in Ukraine
Kenan Malik

When is an invasion not an invasion? When is sovereignty not sovereignty? When is an unelected regime more legitimate than an elected government? The answer, it seems, is when we are discussing Ukraine. The crisis in Ukraine has swiftly turned into a global stand-off. It has also become the focus for a war of words about the meaning of freedom, democracy, legitimacy and sovereignty.....

 

Malaysian Plane Disappearance Linked To 9/11
Dr. Kevin Barrett

It happened on 9/11. Now it has happened again in Malaysia. Family members of the passengers on Malaysian Airlines MH370 report getting ring tones when they call their missing loved ones. Social networking sites show the missing passengers "on-line." The airline reports getting ring tones on the crew's cell phones. ….

 

The Palestinians aspire to control all the holy sites in the Old City of Jerusalem, not only those holy to Islam, but those holy to Christianity and Judaism as well......

The Danger Lurking Beneath Al-Aqusa
Ramzy Baroud

Something sinister is brewing around and below Al-Aqusa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem, and it has the hallmark of a familiar Israeli campaign to strip the mosque of its Muslim Arab identity. This time around, however, the stakes are much higher. The status of Al-Aqusa mosque is unparalleled within the context of Muslim heritage in Palestine itself. It is also the third holiest Islamic site. But equally as important, it is a symbol of faith, resistance and defiance. Its story of struggle and perseverance goes hand in hand with the very modern Palestinian struggle for rights, freedom and identity…..

...but the departure from military dictatorship has also coincided with a flowering of a radical Buddhist nationalism that has crystallised in communal violence against the country’s Muslim minority. Wirathu has emerged as the public face of that movement, and the monk’s anti-Muslim rhetoric has helped incite attacks on Myanmar’s Muslim civilians — particularly its ethnic Rohingya — over the past 18 months. Last year, Time magazine featured Wirathu on its cover under the headline ‘The Face of Buddhist Terror’....

 

A Global Protest against Tyranny
Tarek Fatah

"The Crimean basin in the Black Sea has only recently been surveyed and shows huge oil reserves that would have made Ukraine less dependent on Russian oil blackmail," he said. "Then there is the question of underwater oil pipelines that Russia is building. We cannot discount these factors."….

 

Assad: Beneficiary OF Ukrainian Crisis
Liz Sly

It is in Syria, however, where strains between the US and Russia are likely to have the most immediate impact. For most of the three years since the Syrian uprising began, the Obama administration’s Syria policy has been predicated on the assumption that Russia would be a willing partner in efforts to convince Assad to relinquish power. That policy, perhaps unlikely ever to work, has now been exposed as unrealistic....

 
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