Is disorder the measure of our times? Can anyone see an end to the upheavals in the Middle East and what can be done? My answer to the first question is no and my answer to the second is: wind the clock back to the days of the Ottoman Empire when vast stretches of the Middle East lived in relative peace under the benign rule of the sultans.....
Truth and assassination are perhaps two eternally disparate phenomena, whose paths rarely if ever encounter justice. This is true not only of the Benazir Bhutto murder case, but of similar incidents that came long before and will likely come after.....
The deal-stopper for the administration is if Iran balks at U.S. insistence that sanctions will only be removed step by step, as Iran demonstrates that it’s serious about abiding by the agreement. In the U.S. view, Iran has to earn its way back to global acceptance.....
Meanwhile, Daesh, ISIS, ISIL, IS - or whatever its name - broke away from al-Qaeda to become the definitive regional, and even global threat. Its pornographic barbarity provided a new bloodier banner for al-Qaeda affiliates throughout the region, with a prime real estate location to erect a whole new caliphate on Syrian and Iraqi soil....
Madrasas deem themselves to be the protectors of Islam, or at least their own brand of Islam. They disagree with the notion that they are encouraging extremism in any form. In a survey conducted by the Pak Institute for Peace Studies, 79pc of Madrasa teachers denied any link between Madrasas and extremism and emphasised the distinction between militant seminaries and ‘normal’ Madrasas. Of the respondents, 8pc believed that some Madrasas played a role in promoting extremism but also pointed out that such seminaries were close to the government and even received support from the West. Even those that identified extremism as a real problem refused to acknowledge that Madrasas play a role in promoting it....
Now suddenly peace between Pakistan and Afghanistan is all that is being talked about and there is the suggestion that the militaries of the two countries will take a joint run against their common problem - the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban. Neither have half a dozen serving and retired Pakistani generals dressed in suits, with their wives in tow, ever slipped into a public audience to hear India's leading historians and other Indian intellectuals speak of India's past and future problems and the need to make peace with Pakistan....
The government might not have officially released the religious data of Census 2011, but in a presentation before an international delegation in the United States it said that over 180 million Muslims were living in India, constituting 14.88 per cent of the total population. It also asserted that despite a large Muslim population in India, there was hardly any case of the community members joining violent pan-Islamic groups….
Ahl-e-Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ), a banned terrorist organisation, is protesting outside the Supreme Court in the capital, which falls in the red zone and is currently under negotiations with the government. How are we supposed to interpret the government’s actions versus their rhetoric of eliminating terrorism, when the ASWJ sends such a clear message as to who clasps the reins of power....
Saudi Arabia, for example, has funded religious extremism in various parts of the world, based in large parts on its paranoia of Shia Islam. While Saudi Arabia itself has not suffered from religious violence, even though it makes up for it with inhumane domestic policies, countries that have been on the receiving end of the funding by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries have suffered massive human loss. Pakistan has the tragic honour of being an old member of that very club. Even though as far as this particular piece of news is concerned, Saudi Arabia falls well behind the likes of Qatar and Kuwait as far as the amount of funding goes, its influence in the region and its muscle behind the spread of Wahabi Islam has been obvious to the world for a long time….
The important truth here (and throughout the article) is that ISIS is not just comprised of “modern secular people” in a religious disguise; it is comprised, at least among its more sophisticated adherents, of sincerely religious people who reject secularism and liberalism no matter how many times they eat at Pizza Hut. But this truth should not obscure the fact that these people and their motivations are themselves modern in some important ways, that to be anti-secular and illiberal is not necessarily the same as being medieval or traditional, and that just because ISIS is at war with the secular and liberal does not mean that its claim to speak on behalf of pre-modern Islam against some impure modern variant is necessarily legitimate or should be given the benefit of the doubt....
half of the people in Malaysia are actually Malays. Most of the rest are
descended from Chinese and Indian immigrants who arrived in the 19th and 20th
centuries, and the non-Malay population is doing much better economically than
the original population. Most of the non-Malays are also non–Muslim, so the
Malay population feels both exploited and threatened....
PM Narendra Modi
Breaking his silence on growing incidents of religious
intolerance since the NDA government came to power, Prime Minister Narendra
Modi has asserted his government’s determination to protect freedom of religion
and the citizen’s right to choose in this regard. Anything else would be
antithetical to the vision of modernity and unleashing of aspiration that he
has otherwise articulated for 21st century India. The occasion on which he
chose to do so is also significant — while attending a church event to mark the
sainthoods of Kuriakose Chavara and Euphrasia from Kerala....
Other Related Stories:
Modi: Govt will not allow any group to incite hatred
sermon on tolerance aimed at Christians, VHP says
Modi breaks silence, says won’t allow religious intolerance
clerics pose six questions to RSS
remarks a pleasant surprise, Christian leaders say
Will Not Allow Any Religious Group Majority or Minority to Incite Hatred against
better late than never, Congress says
lured and forced to convert’
statement evokes mixed reaction
of the equation group, the firm said, were observed in more than 30 countries
including US adversaries such as Russia, China, and Iran, and troubled and
failing countries such as Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen and Somalia. But
they also included US allies and friends such as the United Kingdom, Germany,
France, Singapore, Mexico, Brazil — and India. The group said it detected
particularly high infection rates in computers in Iran and Pakistan, whose
nuclear programs the US is said to monitor most closely....
Council of Ulema seems to be far too focused on trivial issues such as banning
Valentine’s Day and stopping people from buying chocolates that have condoms
with them, rather than focusing on the real problem – violence against women.
Somehow, these clerics feel that by banning people from having sex, the
violence against women will stop. They feel that by removing women from the
social sphere altogether – by shutting them inside houses – the abuse, the
crimes and the violence that women face on a daily basis by their partners,
family members or even bystanders on the street, in case they go out of the
house at all, will stop....
Akbar focused on blasphemy. "There's an elephant in this hall which we have not addressed and I think it is time, if we want to take this matter seriously," he said. "The tongue can also wound and the wound inflicted by the tongue goes straight to the heart. They don't lacerate the body, they lacerate the heart. And the heart remembers much longer than the mind. And that's the problem with any wounds inflicted in the sphere of blasphemy.... Blasphemy is injury to the icons of the faith. You don't have to be abusive,"…
In fact, intolerance and even bloodthirstiness -- not to mention justifying slavery, the subjugation of women and the stoning of homosexuals -- were seen as grounded in Christianity, as well as in Jewish religion and tradition, including the Hebrew Bible where an angry and vengeful God instructs the Children of Israel to destroy the non-believers That was then….
The Nawaz Sharif government says madrasas are sacrosanct and will not be investigated, but a growing body of facts in the media says madrasas are involved in terrorism through the training of killers and “excommunication” (takfir) of the Shia community. The state itself apostatises Ahmadi Muslims but baulks at takfir of the Shia counted as Muslims in the census. Most madrasas have gone on record — they may deny it — in calling the Shia Kafir. Their Fatwas have been used as handbills prior to Shia massacres.....
But the government’s biggest liabilities are the result of its own greed. Officials have never been shy about dipping into public troughs but the present lot is, by common consent, especially avaricious. Last year the governor of the central bank said that $20 billion had gone missing. He was sacked for his trouble….
In reality, considering the daily wear and tear a family can exercise
on anyone’s will, the Court's terms and conditions are unlikely to mean much
when it comes to Uzma’s ability to make choices for herself....
... if Nawaz Sharif and Narendra Modi decide to trade with each other,
the media in both countries will likely be a force-multiplier (as in 1999)
aiding their initiatives because there can be no better people-to-people trust
building exercise than one which creates powerful business vested interests
The exact motivation of the murders is still unclear and some say everything began with a dispute over parking space. Yet, people normally don’t commit massacres for parking space, and enough signs point to a hate crime: The victims were targeted because of their very Muslim-ness. This is not the first time that hatred of Muslims, also called “Islamophobia,” causes blood spill….
“Cut my own throat if I’m lying, but I swear to you: around us, right now, all around us are Hindu women held captive by Muslim husbands,” Vijaykant Chauhan said on our first meeting. “Islamic terrorists are using the sacred land of Hindustan, the wealth of Hindustan and Hindustan’s daughters to breed children who are sent to Madrasas, trained in Pakistan and turned into more terrorists who want to destroy India.”....
When 200 schoolgirls were kidnapped by Boko Haram in north-eastern Nigeria last April, it took Jonathan forty days even to mention the incident. Ten thousand Nigerians have been killed by Boko Haram in the past year, but he didn’t even mention the organization’s name in the speech launching his re-election campaign…..
That is why the supporters of the governing party in Turkey claimed that ISIL was a temporary phenomenon, while the Sunni response (against the growing influence of Iran) was a permanent issue to be taken seriously. ….
Like so much else in Pakistan, Valentine’s Day is a political event. As has been the case in the recent restive years, the arrival of the mid-February homage to love is accompanied by posters and billboards as well as terse castigations for would-be revellers. “Sorry Valentine’s Day: I am Muslim”...