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Shara added that “after being hit, al-Baghdadi, with a range of elements of his organization fled into Syrian territory because of its proximity to Qaim,” indicating that “al-Baghdadi might be killed as a result of the severity of his injuries.”…..

 

Fading of the Strongman: Muttahida Qaumi Movement Leader-in-Exile
Khaled Ahmed

Living in London, Altaf Hussain is no longer the dapper figure he was. He should have managed his finances better too, like many Pakistani nationals and leaders who have their wealth stashed away in the UK. The technique of flying into a rage, borrowed from the religious cleric, should have been modified after the MQM became the only modern-liberal party in Pakistan, affording shelter to such minority victims of the predatory state as Shias, Ismailis, Ahmadis and Hindus. But the cult prevailed......

 

“They are barbaric, but mostly they targeted Shias and those who had gone to Iraq on a pilgrimage. We were told they killed pilgrims while they were offering prayers or performing Ziyarat. Pilgrims were captured and mercilessly killed and the situation was the worst in Samara.”....

 

An unusual confrontation is building up ever since Dwarka Shankaracharya, Swami Swaroopanand Saraswati, ran down the followers of Shirdi Sai Baba, saying they ought not to worship the 19th century mystic who was no god, and remove his photographs and idols from temples where he gets the pride of place with Hindu deities. The 90-year-old pontiff's comments hurt a legion of Sai devotees. In Varanasi, protests broke out soon after the Shankaracharya's observations, while the 'Sanatani' followers of the seer hit the streets of the temple town in the seer's favour......

Senior counsel Philip Koh, who is keeping a watching brief for the Majlis or council of non-Muslims religions, pointed the case is not confined to Christians as Sikhs and others also use the word 'Allah' to refer to God in their Holy Scriptures. He cited the dissenting judgment of Datuk Zainum Ai that "a secular court such as ours is ill-equipped to determine the veracity, accuracy or even sincerity of subjective religious beliefs about doctrine and practices….

 

Believe it or not, after days of trying  in vain to get positive news from any Muslim country for the front page of my magazine, it was a Christian country—the most Christian you can get—Vatican City—which brought me relief with good news at last. I was really delighted, especially after hearing about the Malaysian judgment, to read that the Vatican had organized prayers for peace, bringing together Christians, Muslims and Jews. How I wished similar good news would come from Muslim countries, too!.....

A campaign to isolate Muslims living under apartheid-like conditions is gathering steam in western Myanmar, driven by Buddhist activists emboldened by the country's transition from military rule. Religious violence since 2012 has killed hundreds of Rohingya Muslims and displaced more than 140,000 in Rakhine State. Survivors live as virtual prisoners in camps or in segregated villages, subject to restrictions on travel, and, in some areas, marriage and the number of babies they can have…..

 

India has a rich heritage of science and technology, including in the field of space. An understanding of the cosmos, and its relationship to Life and Science; is deeply rooted in our ancient thought and knowledge. Our ancestors had conceived of ideas like ‘Shunya’ and ‘flying objects’, long before others. The works of visionaries like Bhaskaracharya and Aryabhata, continue to inspire scientists.

Many misunderstand space technology to be for the elite. That it has nothing to do with the common man. I however believe, such technology is fundamentally connected with the common man. As a change agent, it can empower and connect, to transform his life. Technology opens up new opportunities of development. And gives us new ways of addressing our challenges.

 

The Songlines of Secularism
Shiv Visvanathan

One sought to keep religion and the rest of life separate; the rest treated it as an affable mix. Yet, I sensed a paradox. The affable secularism seemed a private affair, an autobiographical fragment while the official secularism dominated our public spaces. It is as if the officially secular lacked roots in the same metaphors of creativity. The officially secular projected a sense of intolerance about society in Gujarat. It showed no sense of dialogue, confusing Hinduism with Hindutva. On the other hand, our tacit secularism created private doubt but did not enter the public space. Official secularism met Hindu majoritarianism in Gujarat and was defeated partly because of the failure of imagination…..

The Lahore Log: The Name Qadri Seems To Be a Problematic One for Pakistan
Mehr F Husain

The name Qadri seems to be a problematic one for Pakistan. It has struck fear in people's hearts in the form of Mumtaz Qadri being gunned down by Governor Salmaan Taseer, adding a new dimension of terror with a "You die if you aren't an Islamist" attitude.  But this other Qadri is a respected religious figure with a group of dedicated and organised party workers, turning him into a dangerous political opponent of the government……

What India Needs To Do
Suhasini Haidar

What India Needs To Do
Suhasini Haidar

Textbooks were changed, history was rewritten, and Jamaat activists worked assiduously to Islamise the population while attacking all signs of Bangla culture that ties the country to India as “un-Islamic.” It was this atmosphere that allowed groups like HuJI and ULFA to make inroads in Bangladesh, along with a sense of ill-use by ‘big brother’ India.....

 

Confront Jihadism at Home
Tufail Ahmad

One may ask if small bands of barbarians can succeed against mighty states. The answer: Yes and no. Yes, because jihadists succeed in situations created by local factors; no, because jihadists can be curtailed by resilient states. Nations fall when their internal cohesion suffers. Rome fell because it had become internally fragile due to misrule. The jihad by Kashmiris and the Indian Mujahideen is abetted by local alienation. Iraq’s cities fell because Baghdad squandered the achievements of the US troop surge and fostered anti-Sunni sectarianism….

 

From an Indian Muslim’s Brush...
Bina Shah

One of the names of Allah is Al-Musawwir — “The Creator,” “The Shaper of Beauty” or, plainly put, “The Artist.” And while we can’t dream of becoming God, what happens when we do create art, music, poetry, literature or dance is that we reflect, in some small way, an attribute of the divine in our own earthly lives…..

A Conversation in Pakistan
Aakar Patel

Has the decrease in terrorist violence in India come at the cost of an increase in violence in Pakistan? That is what the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) believes. I was in Pakistan last week and a retired ISI general I spoke to said that the sharp spike in violence in the country in the last decade could be attributed to the military’s decision to crack down on terror groups operating against India…..

 

Canada isn't anti-Muslim
Farzana Hassan

Many of my co-religionists drill the mantra into their followers that the media demonizes Muslims, that whenever Muslims commit an act of terror, sound bites with “Islam” and “Muslim” pulse from TV and radio. When others commit atrocities, they claim, their faith is never mentioned.....

 

Pakistan Is At War… Finally
Syed Rashid Munir

Two fighters enter a ring to fight over a title. The decision has been made; or been made public, at least. The war is ours, finally. The time for talks, indeed, is over. Pakistan Army has launched an operation against the militants in North Waziristan Agency (NWA). After all these years, and the loss of so many dear lives, we’ve been jolted into action. …..

 

The New Shapes of War
M.J. Akbar

The mirrors of history are reflecting a wry smile. A common enemy is forcing America and Iran to restore, perhaps grudgingly, a framework that was shattered in 1979. Obama was so focused on getting his troops home to a war-weary America that he lost sight of the radical embryo he was leaving behind. In September 2011 he declared that "The tide of war is receding". It was merely recuperating. In August last year he thought that "Al Qaeda is on its heels, (it) has been decimated". Only to be replaced by a more dangerous successor…..

 

The Thing Has Started...Let's See Where It Ends
Ayaz Amir

And the republic’s broad spaces were filled with bright idiots who said that with a strong media and an independent judiciary a new Pakistan was born in which the old power play, boots tapping away in the distance, was a thing of the past. This summer is proving a tough education for such philosophers, and a rough house for the tender plant called Pakistani democracy.....

Chaos, Panic, Disorder and Dr Tahirul Qadri
Uzmaa Farhan

At this point, supporters of the absentee leader refused to comply with police instructions. Soon enough, this little tête-à-tête turned into a full-fledged bloody conflict with eight people pronounced dead and over 80 injured. The fact that this incident took place is preposterous. Especially when the security situation in the country is so sensitive and the country is on high-alert due to the operation taking place in North Waziristan…..

Amid The Hurrahs, a Small Warning for Mr Narendra Modi
Karan Thapar

I would have expected Mr Modi to immediately distance himself from the Kerala police action, criticise the highhanded arrests and demand the cases be dropped. Once again, that would also have been the politically astute response. But all we got was silence. Now, Mr Modi is far too accomplished a politician to knowingly forego these opportunities to send out re-assuring and badly needed messages. There has to be some other explanation. But what? The alternatives — he did not know, he was too busy, he forgot — don’t make sense…..

Shashi Tharoor and I on Narendra Modi
Mike Ghouse

The accusations leveled against me and Tharoor is that we have changed. We have not! It is actually Modi who has changed, taking a 180-degree turn, and every Indian should welcome it as we do. Modi started speaking the language of inclusiveness that we understood, and the right thing to do is to appreciate it. What we offered was not blanket, wholesale praise but selective praise where he deserves it…..

Unless PEMRA Plays a More Active Role in Checking TV’s Excesses, We Will Become Brainwashed Zombies Unable to Think for Ourselves
Irfan Husain

When a shark is wounded, others in the school detect its blood in the water, and turn on it in a vicious feeding frenzy. It’s not a pretty sight. This is what we have been witnessing over the last month as a number of TV channels, led by ARY, have savaged Geo. So when ARY’s anchor, Mubashir Lucman, was barred from the airwaves by the Islamabad High Court, I didn’t shed any tears. But now that the Supreme Court has reinstated him, I suppose he’ll be baying for Geo’s blood again.....

 

India Must Find Its Voice in West Asia
Suhasini Haidar

From Cairo to Baghdad, vendors still have a “special discount” for visitors from Al-Hind; in Syria, mention of India invokes talk about the old Damascus-Bombay trade routes, and in Tripoli, before the air strikes in 2011, there was a building covered with a poster of pictures of Pandit Nehru and Indira Gandhi. That goodwill has only been enhanced by the diligent and disciplined Indian expatriate......

 

War in Iraq Hurts Every Home in India
Praveen Swami

For India to succeed in protecting its vital energy interests in western Asia, it will need the focussed application of all elements of its national power: military, yes, but also diplomatic and economic. Hard as it may be, New Delhi will have to find ways to work with China and Japan, the two other Asian states powered by West Asian oil. Powers across the region will have to find cooperative mechanisms to finance future interventions that may become necessary…….

 

Are Dark Clouds Hovering over Pakistan?
Babar Sattar

Who is propping up charlatans and scheming good-for-nothingers like Tahirul Qadri and the Chaudhries to put the fear of the devil in the civilian government? If the Khakis are cut up over the PML-N’s lack of resolve to take on the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan, why are they treating forces of obscurantism in Punjab as bench strength?....

 
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